NXT is holding a Best of 2015 awards and voting is now open at WWE.com. Cagesiders Sean, Eddie Mac, and Tonya have already released their ballot. Not to be left out, I've decided to join them.
Overall Competitor of the Year
While I'm not the caliber of Sasha super fan as my colleague Sean, there's no doubt she's the total package and I am a huge fan. Her character is so strong that even though I love her work as a heel, she does a great job in making me hate her at times too. Asides from Kevin Owens, she may have been the strongest performer on the microphone in NXT in 2015 as well.
Plus she's excellent in the ring. There were four TakeOvers that Sasha Banks was involved in this year and it's possible she had the best match of each one (the fatal fourway where she won the title, defending the title against Becky Lynch, losing the title to Bayley in Brooklyn, and the Iron Man match.) Now granted, all of those matches involved other women who are really good in the ring as well, but to put on match of the night contenders in every TakeOver she was part of this year is damned impressive.
Sasha Banks in NXT this last year was a performance for the ages.
Male Competitor of the Year
This was closer than I thought it would be, but only because Owens wasn't in NXT for 1/3 of the year. (I did not count any main stage WWE events when voting.) Finn Balor was a focus of pretty much the entire year. However, I'm one of those who don't love Finn like many others. While Owens oozed personality, I'm still struggling to see it in Finn. Both men are talented in the ring, but Owens draws me in with the little things.
If there were no KO in NXT this year, or if he was only there for a quarter, I would have given this to the Demon. But KO was the total package in NXT and that makes up for the fact he wasn't there the latter third.
Also, his line about Full Sail being the John Cena of wrestling fans could easily have been line of the year.
Female Competitor of the Year
I'm going to hedge the bets for the women and not count the overall competitor of the year in their gender category as well. And honestly, Bayley is wasn't far behind Sasha in my overall competitor of the year.
She shared the match of the year stage with Sasha Banks. She played the mega baby face like no one has in awhile. She was the Dusty Rhodes to Sasha's Ric Flair. While WWE loves to live in hyperbole when they discuss Bayley's matches with Sasha, there's no doubt they were important in the land scape of women's wrestling, at least within WWE as a whole.
Tag Team of the Year
Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady
Even if Chad Gable and Jason Jordan were an option, the Realest Guys may have been my pick. But that's also because I am taking into account the majority of the year and it feels like Jordan and Gable have been in the shadows until TakeOver: Respect acted as their coming out party.
Even though Enzo and Cass have not yet won the big one and at this rate, I don't think they will in NXT, they're consistently over. More over than any one who has actually held the tag team championships.
They've also showed great improvement from where they were last year at this time when it comes to putting on a good in ring story. Being developmental, that means something to me as well.
Match of the Year
Bayley vs. Sasha Banks (TakeOver: Brooklyn)
This is a no brainer for me. There aren't many matches where I actually tear up at the end and this was one in which I did. The match delivered the entire time from the incredible entrances, through the dive over the referee, nasty foot stomps, a brutal rana off the top rope, to the rewarding 1-2-3, and the tearful curtain call. The emotion of the match never let up.
I didn't watch a match better this year.
(I'd like to note that I don't watch every single wrestling promotion, so I'm sure there could be better matches out there, but I didn't see it.)
TakeOver of the Year
While "Not as good as Brooklyn" has become a running gag, when it comes to judging a TakeOver in its entirety, nothing this year was as good as Brooklyn.
The venue was a plus, this being the first time TakeOver left the smaller confines of Full Sail. Being able to fill up a much larger Barclays Center with an equally raucous crowd gave TakeOver: Brooklyn a big show feel.
While all the TakeOvers were really good, which is a feat unto itself, this felt like NXT's WrestleMania. The top feuds were big: Sasha/Bayley I and Owens/Balor II. They had a special guest star in Jushin Thunder Liger. There was a tag title change which felt bigger than it likely should have when the VaudeVillians defeated Blake and Murphy (I still have no idea why it wasn't Enzo and Cass.) Even the matches with nothing at stake (Samoa Joe vs. Baron Corbin and Apollo Crews' debut) still delivered.
All in all, TakeOver: Brooklyn was the best start to finish wrestling show I saw in 2015.
There's my ballot. Share your thoughts in the comments below.