For 53 Sundays (plus one Monday for WrestleMania), Cageside Seats has asked you to tell us about your favorite performances in pro wrestling. In record numbers, you Cagesiders answered the call.
Ladies and germs, smarks and casuals, here's the full, final, official Smarks Shoot Standings (S3) for 2015 - 2016:
Wish I had time to do some fancy graphs like I used to back in the early days of this thing - if anyone wants to take a stab at analysis, let me know and I can email you the full spreadsheet I use to keep track of it week-to-week - but here are some quick thoughts upon closing the book on our fourth year...
11 on down
- A record setting number of performers received points, but you have to go further down the list than ever before to find someone who doesn't work for WWE. An increased number of voters meant more people's favorites were represented, but just like in ratings and other metrics - most people follow the biggest and easiest-to-keep-up-with company.
- Every year, there's some who has an early run which keeps them in the top ten most of the year, but who's push fades and they end up not getting a lot of votes later. Call it the Damien Sandow award. This year's winner is Slammy winner Neville.
- Speaking of Sandow, there were a few players who usually factor in the top of the Standings who weren't factors this year. In addition to the former Money in the Bank winner and Miz stunt double, Paul Heyman dropped as his client left the title picture, Dolph Ziggler did not steal the show and the entire TNA roster fell off the radar - at least in our corner of the internet.
- Another award should go to the silly thing y'all manage to get into a top ten on a slow week. Call it the Warrior award, since this is about as close to Jim Hellwig's intent as WWE's marketing philanthropy is. Congrats go out to one of Rusev's passive aggresive gifts to Summer Rae!
10 - Xavier Woods
Twas a banner year for the New Day, but by virtue of being their primary mouthpiece during their rise - with an unofficial rub from UpUpDownDown, I'd imagine - the guy who wrestles the least got the most votes over the last year.
9 - Brock Lesnar
We're seeing diminishing returns for the sheriff of Suplex City, but he was still throwing car doors into the crowd and hovering around the WWE title picture just enough to make a major impact in your minds. Might he fall as far as his advocate in the coming year without a clear direction?
8 - Sasha Banks
Call it what you will, but at least around here, the Revolution is taking hold. Women feature prominently all over the S3, and for the first time ever, we have two in the top ten. The Boss fell out of favor while she was twerking with Team B.A.D., but triple digits is nothing to scoff at. She's poised for a big year, but she may have even more competition thanks to the advances in equality WWE is making.
6/7 - John Cena & Cesaro
First of all, take a moment to reflect on how crazy "John Cena: Internet Darling" is. But that's what happened. There were still significant pockets of resistance - he never won a week, despite being at or near the top until late Summer - but these two were only done in by their shoulders. And the usual booking, in the Swiss Superman's case, of course.
5 - Roman Reigns
Even though he was high on pay-per-view (PPV) cards throughout the year, he probably wouldn't be here without a streak in December where smarks loved his, for lack of a better term, ruthless aggression. If the edge his character showed this week is here to stay, 16-17 might be the year of the Big Dog, even in the S3.
4 - Becky Lynch
Difficult as it is for this Sasha fanboy to admit, it was the Lasskicker's year. She ruled as the traditional babyface attempting to keep her friend from the dark side, and then fighting like hell to stop her when those best efforts couldn't keep Charlotte from going full "dirtiest player in the game". Doesn't hurt that she's a hell of a wrestler and seems like an equally good person. Hers is the highest ranking and point total for a woman in the S3. BEXcellent job.
2/3 - Broken brothers
After last year, when Dean Ambrose took time off to film a movie and ended up being surpassed by Seth Rollins, it looks like these two have their own Zayn/Owens rivalry going in the S3 just like in the WWE Universe. The former WWE champ lead his ex-teammate until the last week of the "year" (and the rest of the field for more than half the year), but the Lunatic Fringe's Daniel Bryan-like tear through Mania season put him in front of an injured Architect. But nowhere close to...
1 - Kevin Owens
What a year. He's our first S3 winner who didn't hold or even feature in a program for the WWE title at some point during the "season", but more than made up for it by announcing his presence with authority during his Summer program with the Face That Runs the Place and never backing down from there. His combo of being a good dude, a great heel and someone we see as an underdog in Vince McMahon's kingdom should make him a fixture at the top of the Standings for years to come.
For fun, use the poll below to make a prediction as to the 2016-17 winner. Depressing injuries aside, last year, you weren't far off. Can Owens become our first repeat champ, or should he just focus on avoiding the S3 curse? Let us know what you think!
Any other questions, comments, concerns, screams or cries? Use the comments for those, too!
See you on Sunday for Season Five of The S3!