NXT is holding a Best of 2015 awards and voting is now open at WWE.com. Cagesiders Sean, Eddie Mac, Tonya and Kyle have already let you know who they're voting for - now one more enters the fray.
Overall Competitor of the Year
This category is funny for me because of the nature of differing calendars. When you're looking from December to December, as the Observer Awards do, I went with Sasha Banks for Wrestler of the Year. But when you're looking at January to January, you lose Sasha's major carry of Charlotte at R Evolution that managed to convince both fans and WWE management that Charlotte was great, and instead add Bayley's tremendous December, and it changes the entire complexion of the vote since the two were so intertwined in the middle of the year that any gap was relatively thin.
What Bayley did with Nia Jax is nothing short of fantastic. I know people want to like Nia Jax, because she has a very unique look and style, but she is incredidbly green as a performer and still needs a ton of work to really start to develop into that imposing Mark Henry/Aja Kong like figure we want her to be. But Bayley absolutely made her look incredibly imposing and dangerous in this match. That was a genuine top tier carry job. The match completely falls apart without Bayley's performance, and with it, it was a great match. And add that on top of her miracle match with Eva Marie and Bayley ended the year incredibly strong. I think two miracle matches outweigh the great Sasha/Becky match.
Beyond that, she's the star of the show. When you watch NXT TV, Bayley is the centerpiece. She had two well-built, entertaining title feuds on NXT television alone in the last couple months with Alexa Bliss and Eva Marie, while Finn was barely on the show. As important as Sasha was to getting us to the point where Bayley could be the star of the show, Bayley has absolutely taken that ball and run with it. More than anyone else, she's the MVP of NXT this year. She's been there from start to finish and delivered over and over again in every opportunity she was given.
Finally, Bayley's evolution both on a kayfabe level and real life level this year from a lovable underdog to the strong, confident face of the brand she is now was incredibly enjoyable to watch.
Male Competitor of the Year
Honestly, this was the year of NXT: Women Athletes, so this was a tough choice for me. The female side has been the focal point of the show for most of the year, especially in the back half, which leaves me with someone who was basically only in NXT during the front half of the year, and that's the Prizefighter, Kevin Owens. He and Sasha Banks were really at the core of making NXT the expanding brand it became in 2015. His work in the feud with Sami Zayn was top notch, one of the most multi-layered feuds WWE has done in years, his mic work was consistently top notch throughout his run, all he was really missing was that true knockout match.
Female Competitor of the Year
No 'everybody gets a trophy' for me. If Bayley is the overall competitor of the year, she's gotta be the female competitor of the year as well. Sasha will get her well deserved shine in the MOTY section.
Tag Team of the Year
Chad Gable & Jason Jordan
I mean come on, how can you not go with these two after their massive breakout ye-... I'm sorry, what's that? ... Really? ... I see.
Tag Team of the Year (Take Two!)
Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady
2015 was yet another strange year for Enzo & Big Cass. As much as I love Triple H's booking of NXT, what they've done with Enzo & Cass has never really made sense. They've been incredibly over since before NXT was even a brand, have still yet to win the tag straps, and they didn't even put them on them in Brooklyn, New York, basically sacred ground for the Realest Guys in the Room. Even with the strange booking, Enzo in particular has really improved this year in the ring, and the act as whole feels more well-rounded than ever. These two should have been on Raw feuding with New Day months ago, and the same is true now. I'm hopeful that after missing two separate chances to debut them on a Brooklyn show, maybe Post-Mania Raw will finally be the time when we get the glorious promo battle between Enzo & Cass and Xavier, Kofi and E that I think we all desperately want.
Match of the Year
Sasha Banks vs Bayley (Takeover: Brooklyn)
Deciding between this, Respect, and Unstoppable is an incredibly difficult decision. All three are in my year long top 10 across every promotion. I loved all three matches a great deal, but this has the slight edge for being the moment where Bayley finally triumphed after literally years of losing big matches, heartbreak, and struggles to finally get over the hump. It was a perfect balance between the technical classic that was Unstoppable with the incredible storytelling of Respect.
Takeover of the Year
This isn't just my NXT show of the year, it's my show of the year for the entire wrestling world. I remember the days when we all thought this was basically a one match card. How wrong we were. I loved pretty much everything about this show. Everything felt so tight and well put together, all six matches delivered to varying degrees, it was a huge breakout for two potential megastars in 2016 in the team of Gable & Jordan and Asuka, and featured a true blue Match of the Year Candidate in the main event. The show just never let up from start to finish and ended incredibly strong, and that's the biggest thing I look for me when I think about great shows, I want every match to deliver and to have a high peak, and this had both.