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The Rock Is The 2012 Wrestler Of The Year

Wrestler of the Year is such a subjective award, yet most seem to agree that the nod should go to WWE champion CM Punk. However if pro wrestling is a business at the end of the day, shouldn’t that award go to the biggest draw? If so, you’d have to give it to The Rock!

[adinserter block=”1″]Listen I am with most of you. When I wrote up my Year End awards a few weeks ago I went with CM Punk. I am not a Punk fan but the guy was on top all year, reinvented his character, and had good to standout matches all year long. Did we all miss the big picture with Punk? I am man enough to admit I did and I was wrong.

I have heard a couple of podcasts and blogs throw around the idea of giving The Rock Wrestler of the Year. On the surface it sounds ridiculous. The man wrestled one match in 2012. How can you give a guy Wrestler of the Year off of one match? It’s practically unheard of. But when that one match set records and moved more numbers than anyone or anything else all year, how can you not give it to the difference maker?

The facts are simple. The Rock moved WWE ratings more than any other wrestler all year. The only other guy that came close was Brock Lesnar. Not only did The Rock make a huge difference in the ratings, the ratings have been the pits since he left. Have you seen them lately? I hate putting so much stock into TV ratings but there is a pattern here. The Rock made more of an impact in a few weeks in 2012 than anyone else did all year.

In the ring he wrestled one match and quite frankly, it wasn’t even that good. I thought Rock vs. John Cena was a disappointment in the ring. But guess what? The match was a monster success at the box office. The match was the most successful match in WWE history! The main-event set a WrestleMania record! At a time when buyrates and interest in pro wrestling was declining, The Rock brought it back to the casual fans and introduced it to new fans. The impact on this is just unmatchable!

Where does John Cena fit into this? Cena drew more money this year than anyone with his programs against The Rock and Brock Lesnar. Cena was also a big part of this equation. Could The Rock have done this business without Cena? I don’t think so. But Cena had plenty of opportunities all year long to ride the momentum and increase business. He didn’t. He hit with Brock and Rock but he had an entire year to do much more. For that, he doesn’t get the recognition by my criteria.

I may look at the business a little differently than you. Working inside the business I always look at the money. I know that as fun as it may be to get all crazy about a great match or invest emotionally in your favorite wrestler, none of this happens without generating revenue. That is why to me drawing money has always been the impetus of success for a pro wrestler. Shawn Michaels was my favorite wrestler of all-time but he isn’t the greatest wrestler ever. I look at guys like Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, and Steve Austin for that recognition.

[adinserter block=”2″]Punk had an entertaining year but he was a dud at the box office. He lost viewers and didn’t make a difference at all in the buyrates other than his match with Ryback. That isn’t to say he had a bad year but why does he get the majority nod? Because he had a lengthy title reign? It isn’t as if he booked it. The money that The Rock drew was authentic, the people he brought to RAW were authentic, and for that, he really should be the Wrestler of the Year.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. give him the moneymaker of the year award then but not wrestler of the year! I think Baba T stated the case perfectly. punk, cena and the other guys who do this on a full time basis deserve an award called wrestler of the year since you know that is what they do. again Buba T. says all that needs to be said about the reason the rock pulled in the ratings and will continue to be a draw when he shows up and it has nothing to do with his wrestling ability.

  2. Like it or not, people have to remember pro-wrestling is a business. It doesn't matter how great of a match you put. If it doesn't bring in revenue, what's the point of pleasing only smarks? Hmm, unless WWE and TNA are hoping the smarks will stay in the long run…if for some reason pro-wrestling fails…which I doubt will happen any time soon.

    Anyhoo, if The Rock vs Cena match was the match that brought in the big bucks, then like it or not, Rocky does deserve the title of Wrestler of the Year. I mean, how many old-school fans who gave up on WWE bought the PPV just to see The Rock beat the modern era's big time player? Nostalgia or not, profit is profit.

    I do wonder whether Punky, D-Bry, The Ryback or any modern star can pull off what Rock and Cena accomplished in one match, sometime in the future?

  3. But you are forgetting the fact that the reason that the Rock drew money big time at WM was because he is an established superstar whose career was built by his highly successful run as a smarky corporate heel in early 1999. The people were invested in a character with whom they were highly familiar with. Nostalgia is a big draw in the wrestling business.

    In my view the Rock failed big time this past year because he failed to bring anything new to the table that could actually help the business. He failed to draw the best out of Cena. There was no build up to the match beyond 'I'm here 24/7, you make movies in Hollywood", no reason for me to get excited to see Rock whip Cena's ass left, right and centre.

    The only positive thing I see coming out of this is that the fact that it was Rock/Cena which main evented the show and not the WWE Title bout gives Punk a point which he can use in his promos against the Rock in the build up to the Rumble match. It is the fact that a part time movie star comes in and starts getting title shots without so much as "by you leave", that gives Punk ammunition and at the same time lets him retain the heel persona without straying from the core Punk character, which is a man who speaks the truth, but is highly unlikeable and a borderline sociopath.

    There are two kinds of draws in the business – (a) nostalgia, (b) genuine investment in the storyline and characters. What we need is more of the latter because otherwise we would never have a star good enough to be a nostalgia draw.

    Therefore, the superstar of the year goes, in my humble opinion, to three men – Daniel Bryan, CM Punk and John Cena. Before you jump on "hey its the attack of the internet smark" bandwagon, hear me out.

    Both these men created enough memorable moments and storylines and catchphrases and obviously great matches to ensure that they become big draws in the business in the not so distant future. Daniel Bryan suffered an epic 18 second loss to a big bully due to his hubris, but came back, as a focused predator at Extreme Rules – no one can forget him making none other than the biggest bully the WWE has right now, S heamus – pass out. He forged an unforgettable partnership with the reinvented WWE veteran Kane, and got past his anger to focus on winning and retaining the tag team championship. A future match against Kane and the reunion of a Team Hell No will be a big draw at a marquee event in the future, you can bet everything you got on that.

    CM Punk has created and cemented the Punk character in the past year. He gave us the best matches but was still playing second fiddle to Mr Face of the Company, John Cena. Not content with upstaging the champion, a part timer who got to rely on his past laurels to main event the biggest show of the year over the current champion, who, as the old man said, is The Man (by virtue of being the champion) comes back and tells him flippantly, that he has a guaranteed title shot at Royal Rumble. Punk, thankfully, and rightfully, gets upset and gives the Rock what's coming to him – his candy ass as whipped as fresh cream. Austin would have been cheered for the actions that got Punk booed – the irony and beauty of pro wrestling – but booed he was – despite the fact that he has been your WWE Champion for a record breaking number of days – he beat a legend in Chris Jericho – he beat hosses like Mark Henry – technicians like Bryan – monsters like Kane – and drew with Cena- who should have acknowledged that Punk is having a great run and should have given him the respect he deserves; the Cena character never did this and kept on receiving title shots after title shots after title shots – you think all of this was not on purpose? Cena lost to Ziggler and has been a douchebag ever since – really not on purpose? I refuse to believe that this culmination of long time greivances of having to play second fiddle on the part of Punk – this sustained douchiness of a long time self proclaimed champ, Mr Make a Wish, John Cena and his attack on Ziggler just as the man was going to cash in his MITB which was rightfully earned through hard work – his calm and smiling acceptance of his shot at a briefcase he doesn't even want – is not on purpose – we have had slow burns this year the likes of which we haven't seen since Mcmahon tried to keep Stone Cold out of the title scene due to his idelogical bias against beer swillers and trash talkers being the holders of the companys flagship title.

    The Rock is a great pro wrestler – in my top 5 along with Austin, Flair, Michaels and Hart – but he doesn't deserve to be the superstar of the year in 2012 – he has cashed in on nostalgia and it was the Punk storyline which made lemonade out of pure vanilla, make no mistake about it – nobody was really interested in actually watching the Rock-Cena match – it was all about seeing the spectacle of a one time favourite returning to the big time and maybe that was by design. However design or coincidence, kayfabe or reality, Punk, Bryan and Cena get my vote for being the superstars of the year 2012 for having sown the seeds for acts that will, imho, draw big in the future.

    -Baba T

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