FanSided WWE 2016 awards

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5 of 5
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Wrestler of the Year
(Basically one giant ode to AJ Styles)

Jack Jorgensen: I mean, come on — is there really anyone else that deserves this one? Back in January we saw a sight that we thought we would never see, that being AJ Styles entering a WWE arena. We were all kinda scared about how he would be handled by Uncle Vince, but boy are we happy now. Styles not only showed that he has belonged in the big leagues for all of this time, he maybe had the best year of his entire career. He put on countless Match of the Year candidates with a variety of other superstars, and we even now get to enjoy: AJ Styles, WWE World Champion. Tell me that a year ago and I’d tell you to please kick the drugs. The Phenomenal One OWNED 2016, and I can’t wait to see how he tries to top himself in 2017.

Cody Williams: From his raucous debut at No. 3 in the 2016 Royal Rumble to his current run with the Smackdown title, AJ Styles has lived up to his “Phenomenal” billing. Though he’s not a part of my match of the year, he’s been involved in a number of candidates in that category. If anyone was questioning his in-ring ability, they were wrong from the start. However, what’s been increasingly impressive is his improvement on the mic, his character-arc and development, and simply giving the aura of a star right from Day 1. Any answer other than Styles here is, in fact, wrong.

Rob Wolkenbrod: He had the Match of the Year, but in just his first full year in WWE, AJ Styles is also the Wrestler of the Year. He put on excellent pay-per-view matches at not only SummerSlam, but WrestleMania 32, Payback, Extreme Rules, Money in the Bank, Backlash, No Mercy and TLC. Some of these were co-main events, or when WWE put the No Mercy headliner as the opening match. Styles delivered epic performances in each of these matchups which gave him critical acclaim from the WWE fans. It couldn’t have gone better for the Phenomenal One in 2016.

Michael Whitlow: It’s debatable when you ask who’s had the best year in WWE this year. But, from debuting No. 3 at the 2016 Royal Rumble, to beating up John Cena (twice) and winning the WWE World Championship, The Face That Runs the Place has been on fire since his debut in January. AJ Styles is the best wrestler on the planet today and beating out folks like Kevin Owens and Charlotte Flair was no small feat, but he did it in my eyes.

Luke Norris: I think it has to be AJ Styles. Following an impressive debut at the Royal Rumble, he got into some great programs with Chris Jericho and Roman Reigns before starting what I believe is the feud of the year with John Cena. And watching what he could do, whether it be in the ring or on the microphone, with WWE‘s biggest name was special. Obviously Vince and the boys backstage thought so as well as from there he went on to become WWE champ, which is something I don’t think anybody ever thought they’d see. He and his program with Ambrose was a joy to watch as well. Their match at TLC was one of the best matches in WWE this year, and when you can make someone like James Ellsworth look like a star, then you know how to do your job. It’s AJ by a landslide here.