FanSided WWE 2016 awards

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It was quite the eventful year for WWE, so the FanSided pro wrestling staff got together to hand out some awards

There have been some years in WWE that you would just like to forget, and then there have been others throughout history that were wild successes. For the most part, you can say that 2016 was one of the better years that Vince McMahon’s baby has ever put together.

There were some amazing performances, spectacular debuts and matches that will most certainly never leave our minds. So with that being the case, the FanSided pro wrestling squad decided to get together to make their picks for what was the best WWE had to offer this year.

Before we begin, here’s a brief introduction to our hard-working FanSided professional wrestling crew.

So now that you’ve gotten to know everyone, let’s dive right into the year that was in WWE.

NXT Wrestler of the Year

Jack Jorgensen: For me, while it’s rather close to call, I have to go with Samoa Joe. Surely people easily point toward Shinsuke Nakamura, and they could have a solid point there as well. But I have been watching Joe for many years now, and his heel work throughout the year was nothing short of incredible, and you might be able to make the case that it was the best year that he has had in his career. I’m more than excited to see what Samoa Joe brings to the table on the WWE main roster in 2017.

Cody Williams: All due respect to Samoa Joe, who has had the run of his life this year in NXT, there’s a reason that Shinsuke Nakamura was an immediate sensation in NXT and has remained so. The former heart of New Japan Pro Wrestling, Nakamura came in and immediately delivered an instant classic over WrestleMania 32 weekend at NXT TakeOver: Dallas with Sami Zayn. Since then, he’s done nothing but establish himself as one of the 2-3 best wrestlers in the entire company and put on one great match after another with Joe and a variety of other opponents. Frankly, I’m still not wholly sure why he qualifies for NXT Wrestler of the Year and isn’t up on the main roster already. But since he’s still down at Full Sail, he gets the nod for this honor.

Rob Wolkenbrod: 2016 became the year of the tag team in NXT. The Revival, American Alpha, Authors of Pain, TM-61, Enzo Amore and Big Cass, and others led the revitalized tag team division in developmental. However, the “top guys” of this –and all of NXT– turned out to be Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa. Their rise from indie darlings to legitimate WWE Superstars was thrilling. They had to grind their way to the top with battling a very good tag team in Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder. Their matches at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II and Toronto were candidates for Match of the Year, but in the end, it turned out to be Ciampa and Gargano standing tall in NXT to close out 2016. This is even with Shinsuke Nakamura’s dominance and Samoa Joe’s two title reigns.

Michael Whitlow: I really wanted to split this award to Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder because their series of matches this year was only topped by the Zayn-Nakamura classic. In every match, I just kept yelling, “My god, this is fantastic.” But, the winner of this award is Samoa freakin’ Joe. His matches with Balor were classics and his matches with Nakamura were wars. Nobody brings more intensity to the squared circle than Joe and his ability to make any situation awesome is why he’s NXT’s best performer in 2016. (Now, please call him up already, Based Haitch.)

Luke Norris: I’m going with Shinsuke Nakamura here. He made an instant impact in his debut against Sami Zayn during WrestleMania weekend and everything just took off from there. He had some great matches with Austin Aries and Finn Balor, and his feud with Samoa Joe could match up with just about anything that took place in the wrestling world in 2016. His in-ring charisma is insanely over with the crowd and he just makes every single one of his matches a must-see event. Even if he doesn’t make it to the main roster, expect more great things from Nakamura in 2017.