The Squared Octagon Votes On The 2015 Wrestling Observer Awards

It’s that time of year again when Big Uncle Dave Meltzer asks the pro wrestling/MMA world to vote on the Wrestling Observer Awards. Being that we’re a pro wrestling/MMA blog, we’re voting!

When I say, “we’re voting”, I literally mean there’s more than one of us. Friend of the website Anthony Skatz will be joining in on the voting process. Skatz is a former host of RBR: Weekly Wrestling Talk and long time Wrestling Observer Newsletter subscriber.

All of our winners are posted below. If you have any questions about who we picked, tweet us or comment below. My twitter is @ThatRobbieFox, and Skatz’s is @AnthonySkatz.

1. LOU THESZ/RIC FLAIR AWARD – This is open to pro wrestlers, for a combination of everything, being both important and influential this year in a positive manner from a business perspective, combining both box office impact as well as strong match quality in worked matches. Last year’s top three were Shinsuke Nakamura, A.J. Styles and Hiroshi Tanahashi.

ROBBIE’S WINNERS: Sasha Banks, John Cena, Shinsuke Nakamura

SKATZ’S WINNERS: Sasha Banks, Shinsuke Nakamura, A.J. Styles

2. MMA MOST VALUABLE FIGHTER: This is also for a combination of fighting inside the ring and importance outside in a positive manner from a business perspective as well. Last year’s top three were Ronda Rousey, Chris Weidman and Jon Jones.

ROBBIE’S WINNERS: Ronda Rousey, Conor McGregor, Donald Cerrone

SKATZ’S WINNERS: Ronda Rousey, Donald Cerrone, Joanna Jędrzejczyk

3. MOST OUTSTANDING WRESTLER: This is based on working ability in the ring only. Simply, the best workers in the world on a consistent basis over the past year. Drawing power, charisma and push shouldn’t be considered. Last year’s top three were A.J. Styles, Tomohiro Ishii and Shinsuke Nakamura.

ROBBIE’S WINNERS: John Cena, Sasha Banks, A.J. Styles

SKATZ’S WINNERS: Seth Rollins, Shinsuke Nakamura, Sasha Banks

4. MOST OUTSTANDING FIGHTER: This should be based on in-ring ability and wins against the top level of competition during the calendar year. Last year’s top three were Ronda Rousey, Chris Weidman and Demetrious Johnson.

ROBBIE’S WINNERS: Holly Holm, Joanna Jędrzejczyk, Donald Cerrone

SKATZ’S WINNERS: Holly Holm, Joanna Jędrzejczyk, Donald Cerrone

5. BEST BOX OFFICE DRAW – Based on drawing big houses (or for that matter selling tickets to small houses as the case may be), buy rates and/or television ratings. Ring work shouldn’t even be considered. Last year’s top three were Ronda Rousey, John Cena and Hiroshi Tanahashi.

ROBBIE’S WINNERS: Ronda Rousey, Conor McGregor, John Cena

SKATZ’S WINNERS: Ronda Rousey, Brock Lesnar, Conor McGregor

6. FEUD OF THE YEAR – This should be based on a combination of having a compelling storyline along with having great matches that should strengthen the box office. Last year’s top three were Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier, Daniel Bryan vs. The Authority and Rush vs. Negro Casas.

ROBBIE’S WINNERS: Conor McGregor vs Jose Aldo, Bayley vs Sasha Banks, Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn

SKATZ’S WINNERS: Bayley vs. Sasha Banks, Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn, Holly Holm vs. Ronda Rousey

7. TAG TEAM OF THE YEAR – For the best working and most valuable tag team during the previous year. Last year’s top three were The Young Bucks, Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly and T-Hawk & Eita.

ROBBIE’S WINNERS: The New Day, The Young Bucks, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro

SKATZ’S WINNERS: The New Day, The Young Bucks, Ricochet and Matt Sydal

8. MOST IMPROVED – This is based on making the biggest strides in ring work during the previous year. This should not be for someone who was already good, but was given a bigger push. Last year’s top three were Rusev, Charlotte and Sasha Banks.

ROBBIE’S WINNERS: Nikki Bella, Drew Galloway, Roman Reigns

SKATZ’S WINNERS: Roman Reigns, Becky Lynch, Bayley

9. BEST ON INTERVIEWS – Who has given the best interviews on a consistent basis over the past year? Reputation from previous years shouldn’t be taken into consideration. It should be based on work over the course of the year as opposed to one or two memorable interviews. Last year’s top three were Paul Heyman, Conor McGregor and Jay Briscoe.

ROBBIE’S WINNERS: Paul Heyman, Conor McGregor, Kevin Owens

SKATZ’S WINNERS: Paul Heyman, Dean Ambrose, Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn

10. MOST CHARISMATIC – What person had to do the least to get the most out of it? Who do crowds naturally react to emotionally even before the person does anything? Last year’s top three were Shinsuke Nakamura, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Conor McGregor.

ROBBIE’S WINNERS: Conor McGregor, Shinsuke Nakamura, Enzo Amore

SKATZ’S WINNERS: Ronda Rousey, Brock Lesnar, Dean Ambrose (THE BASEDGOD) [Finn Balor/Cesaro honorable nominations]

11. BEST TECHNICAL WRESTLER – This is for having the ability to use high level technical wrestling moves within the context of building a great worked pro wrestling match. Last year’s top three were Zack Sabre Jr., Kyle O’Reilly and A.J. Styles.

ROBBIE’S WINNERS: Zack Sabre Jr., Kyle O’Reilly, Cesaro

SKATZ’S WINNERS: Cesaro, A.J. Styles, Chad Gable (I haven’t seen much of Zack Sabre Jr. even though I should, so I think I’ll try to watch some and reserve the right to change this)

12. BRUISER BRODY MEMORIAL AWARD – This is for the wrestler who uses brawling tactics to put together the best matches during the previous year. It’s not for a guy who does brawling matches that aren’t any good. Last year’s top three were Tomohiro Ishii, Katsuyori Shibata and Dean Ambrose.

ROBBIE’S WINNERS: Kevin Owens, Katsuyori Shibata, Dean Ambrose 
SKATZ’S WINNERS: Tomohiro Ishii, Katsuyori Shibata, Kevin Owens

13. BEST FLYING WRESTLER – This is for the wrestler who does the most innovative and solidly executed flying maneuvers within the context of putting together great wrestling matches. This is not for simply the hottest daredevil moves, which are sometimes hit and sometimes miss. Last year’s top three were Ricochet, Kota Ibushi and Flamita.

ROBBIE’S WINNERS: Neville, Kalisto, Ricochet

SKATZ’S WINNERS: Ricochet, Neville, Seth Rollins

14. MOST OVERRATED – The wrestler who gets the biggest push, despite lacking ring ability or charisma. Last year’s top three were Kane, Roman Reigns and Randy Orton.

ROBBIE’S WINNERS: Big Show, Kane, Sheamus

SKATZ’S WINNERS: Kane, Baron Corbin, Bad Luck Fale

15. MOST UNDERRATED – The wrestler with the most ability, who, for whatever reason, doesn’t get a push commensurate with their ability. This should be based on this past year, and not a business reputation earned in prior years. Last year’s top three were Cesaro, Tomoaki Honma and Tyson Kidd.

ROBBIE’S WINNERS: Bailey, Sami Zayn, Samoa Joe

SKATZ’S WINNERS: Cesaro, Becky Lynch, Dean Ambrose (BASEDGOD), honorable Miz mention

16. PROMOTION OF THE YEAR – Should be based on which group put together the best live and television product on a consistent basis, and secondarily, the ability to sell that product at a high level. This means box office and marketing combined with product quality. Theoretically, the top pick should be a company at or near the top on both categories. Last year’s top three were New Japan Pro Wrestling, Ring of Honor and Dragon Gate.

ROBBIE’S WINNERS: New Japan Pro Wrestling, Insane Championship Wrestling, Ring of Honor

SKATZ’S WINNERS: NXT, New Japan Pro Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Guerrila

17. BEST WEEKLY TV SHOW – Weekly television shows are the only ones eligible, not monthly shows, specials or individual episodes of a specific program. This is for the best consistent program. Last year’s top three were WWE NXT, Ring of Honor and Lucha Underground.

ROBBIE’S WINNERS: WWE NXT, Ring of Honor, NJPW on AXS

SKATZ’S WINNERS: : NJPW on AXS, WWE NXT, Lucha Underground

18. PRO WRESTLING MATCH OF THE YEAR – Pick the three best matches, in order, from the time period. Remember, matches from last December are eligible, but nothing after November 30th from this year is eligible. Please list both the date and location of the match, because some matches were held many times during the year. Last year’s top three were A.J. Styles vs. Minoru Suzuki from August 1 in Tokyo, Kazuchika Okada vs. Shinsuke Nakamura from August 10 in Tokorozawa and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Katsuyori Shibata from September 21 in Kobe.

ROBBIE’S WINNERS: Sami Zayn vs Adrian Neville from December 11 in Winter Park, Shinsuke Nakamura vs Kota Ibushi from January 4 in Tokyo, Sasha Banks vs Bayley from August 22 in Brooklyn

SKATZ’S WINNERS: Nakamura vs Ibushi Jan 4 in Tokyo, Sasha Banks vs Bayley NXT TakeOver Brooklyn, Banks vs Lynch  NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable

19. MMA MATCH OF THE YEAR – Pick the three best matches, in order, from the time period listed. Again, please list both the date and location of the match. Last year’s top three were Robbie Lawler vs. Johny Hendricks from March 15 in Dallas, Matt Brown vs. Erick Silva from May 10 in Cincinnati and Mark Hunt vs. Antonio Silva from December 8, 2013 in Sydney, Australia.

ROBBIE’S WINNERS: Robbie Lawler vs Rory MacDonald II from July 11 in Las Vegas, Daniel Cormier vs Alexander Gustafsson from October 3 in Houston, Travis Browne vs Andrei Arlovski from May 23 in Las Vegas

SKATZ’S WINNERS: Robbie Lawler vs Rory MacDonald II from July 11 in Las Vegas, Daniel Cormier vs Alexander Gustafsson from October 3 in Houston, Ronda Rousey vs Holly Holm from November 14 in Melbourne

20. ROOKIE OF THE YEAR – This is based on ring performance, not how someone is pushed or necessarily even long-term star potential. By the standards of the category, a rookie is someone who hasn’t had a regular job with a full-time wrestling company before September 1, 2014. Top contenders for this award are Chad Gable, Jay White, Dana Brooke, Takehiro Yamamura, Kaito Ishida, Cody Hall, Yuma Aoyagi, Kumagoro, Shotaro Ashino, Hugo Knox, Mike Rallis aka Riddick Moss, Josh Woods, Braun Strowman, Nia Jax, Jon Webb and Shiro Tomoyose. Last year’s top three were Dragon Lee, Moose and Yuga Hayashi.

ROBBIE’S WINNERS: Dana Brooke, Chad Gable, Matt Riddle

SKATZ’S WINNERS: Chad Gable, Dana Brooke, UHHHHHH FUCK

21. BEST NON-WRESTLER PERFORMER – For the best performer on a television show who isn’t a traditional wrestler, whether they be a management figure, a woman who doesn’t wrestle, or a traditional manager. Last year’s top three were Paul Heyman, Stephanie McMahon and Lana.

ROBBIE’S WINNERS: Paul Heyman, Xavier Woods, Dario Cueto

SKATZ’S WINNERS: Xavier Woods, Paul Heyman, Dario Cueto

22. BEST TELEVISION ANNOUNCER – Last year’s top three were William Regal, Shimpei Nogami and Jim Ross.

ROBBIE’S WINNERS: Michael Cole, Jim Ross, Steve Corino

SKATZ’S WINNERS: Mauro Rinaulo, Shimpei Nogami, Matt Stryker

23. WORST TELEVISION ANNOUNCER – Last year’s top three were John Layfield, Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole.

ROBBIE’S WINNERS: John Layfield, Jerry Lawler, Byron Saxton

SKATZ’S WINNERS: Byron Saxton, Josh Mathews, JBL

24. BEST MAJOR SHOW – This should be a major show, as opposed to a TV taping or house show, although TV specials like Saturday Night’s Main Event or Ultimate Fight Night are eligible. Last year’s top three were New Japan G-1 tournament show on August 1 in Tokyo, New Japan G-1 tournament show on August 3 in Tokyo and WWE WrestleMania on April 6 in New Orleans.

ROBBIE’S WINNERS: WWE Wrestlemania on March 29 in San Jose, New Japan Wrestle Kingdom 9 on Jaunary 4 in Tokyo, NXT Takeover: Brooklyn on August 22 in Brooklyn

SKATZ’S WINNERS: Wrestle Kingdom 9 on January 4 in Tokyo, NXT Takeover: Respect, Ultima Lucha

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