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ROH announces 2021 award nominees including Gresham, Briscoes, & Danhausen

Ring of Honor closed out the year with a newsworthy PPV at Final Battle. Four championships changed hands as they celebrated the past, present, and future. Now, it is time to honor all the hard work throughout the year with ROH’s 2021 award nominees.

Let’s run down the categories and provide my personal pick for the sake of discussion. Voting is open through the ROH The Experience Facebook group.

Male Wrestler of the Year

  • Bandido
  • Brody King
  • Dalton Castle
  • Dragon Lee
  • Jonathan Gresham
  • Josh Woods
  • Rush
  • Shane Taylor
  • Vincent

Jonathan Gresham held the Pure Championship through the year until September, then he challenged himself to rise the ranks and win the ROH World Championship. That is the kind of glory that should earn him the award. On top of titles, Gresham has been a workhorse in the ring churning out high-quality contests.

Women’s Division Wrestler of the Year

  • Angelina Love
  • Mandy Leon
  • Miranda Alize
  • Rok-C
  • Trish Adora
  • Willow

The women’s division was brought back into the mix with a tournament to crown a new champ. Rok-C prevailed to win gold, so it makes sense that she should win this honor as well.

Tag Team of the Year

  • The Bouncers
  • The Briscoes
  • Chris Dickinson & Homicide
  • Dragon Lee & Kenny King
  • The OGK
  • Soldiers of Savagery
  • Tracy Williams & Rhett Titus

The Briscoes are synonymous with tag team action in ROH, however, they had a rough patch this year with time apart in a split. The Briscoes worked out their issues in the Fight on the Farm then went on to become 12-time ROH tag champs. That is a nice story with a happy ending, but there was another team that deserves the nod for the award. I’m picking Dragon Lee & Kenny King. They held the tag titles twice for approximately half the year in total.

Match of the Year

  • Dragon Lee vs. Rey Horus (TV, 1/16)
  • Bandido vs. Flamita vs. Rey Horus (19th Anniversary, 3/26)
  • Jay Briscoe vs. EC3 (19th Anniversary, 3/26)
  • Jonathan Gresham vs. Dak Draper (19th Anniversary, 3/26)
  • Demonic Flamita vs. Bandido (TV, 5/1)
  • Jay Briscoe vs. Mark Briscoe - Fight on the Farm (TV, 7/3)
  • Bandido vs. RUSH (Best in the World, 7/11)
  • Josh Woods vs. Silas Young - Last Man Standing Match (Best in the World, 7/11)
  • Jonathan Gresham vs. Mike Bennett (Best in the World, 7/11)
  • Dragon Lee vs. Tony Deppen (Best in the World, 7/11)
  • Bandido vs. Flip Gordon (Glory By Honor, 8/20)
  • Vincent vs. Matt Taven - Steel Cage Match (Glory By Honor, 8/21)
  • Dragon Lee vs. Eli Isom (TV, 8/28)
  • Josh Woods vs. Jonathan Gresham (Death Before Dishonor, 9/12)
  • Rok-C vs. Miranda Alize (Death Before Dishonor, 9/12)
  • Bandido vs. Alex Zayne (TV, 11/6)
  • Jonathan Gresham vs. Brody King (Honor For All, 11/14)
  • Briscoes vs. OGK (Final Battle, 12/11)
  • Jonathan Gresham vs. Jay Lethal (Final Battle, 12/11)
  • Shane Taylor vs. Kenny King - Fight Without Honor (Final Battle, 12/11)

To be honest, I can’t remember all these matches. That means recency bias is in full effect. I’m whittling it down to Briscoes versus OGK and Shane Taylor versus Kenny King. The Fight Without Honor was 100% badass. Taylor and King put themselves through pain for our pleasure. It is a very worthy runner-up to my pick of Briscoes and OGK. Tag team action was full throttle with drama, twists, and the joy of seeing Dem Boys sit on top of the mountain once more as ROH tag champs.

Holy Shit Moment of the Year

  • Violence Unlimited debuts, lays out LFI and Foundation (19th Anniversary, 3/26)
  • Maria Kanellis-Bennett announces ROH Women’s World Title Tournament set for summer (19th Anniversary, 3/26)
  • Bandido wins ROH World Title from RUSH (Best in the World, 7/11)
  • Vincent defeats Matt Taven in Last Stand Steel Cage Match (Glory By Honor, 8/21))
  • Alex Zayne is surprise entrant, wins Honor Rumble (Death Before Dishonor 9/12)
  • Adam Scherr unleashes carnage (Final Battle, 12/11)
  • Deonna Purrazzo challenges Rok-C (Final Battle, 12/11)
  • FTR and Briscoes have a pull-apart brawl (Final Battle, 12/11)
  • Jonathan Gresham wins original ROH World Title belt by defeating Jay Lethal (Final Battle, 12/11)
  • Rhett Titus wins ROH World Television Title in Four Corner Survival Match (Final Battle, 12/11)

Free the Titan! Seeing Braun Strowman show up in ROH blew my mind. EC3 was in the middle of another long-winded promo when he shouted those words. The man now known as Adam Scherr unleashed carnage indeed. The surprise was the definition of a holy shit moment.

Best New Star

  • Chelsea Green
  • Chris Dickinson
  • Dutch
  • Max The Impaler
  • Miranda Alize
  • O’Shay Edwards
  • Rok-C
  • Sledge
  • Trish Adora
  • Willow

Max The Impaler wins my vote. As a wrestler I never heard of before, Max arrived with a unique look and powerful presence.

Faction of the Year

  • The Foundation
  • La Faccion Ingobernable
  • The Righteous
  • Shane Taylor Promotions
  • Violence Unlimited

The Foundation has been the glue holding ROH together since they became a faction. Jonathan Gresham, Jay Lethal, Tracy Williams, Rhett Titus, and the late addition of Josh Woods held numerous championships throughout the year.

Best Finisher

  • Bandido’s 21 Plex
  • Brian Johnson’s The Process
  • Brody King’s Gonzo Bomb
  • Dalton Castle’s Bang-a-Rang
  • Danhausen’s Go to Sleephausen
  • Dragon Lee’s Incinerator
  • Homicide’s Gringo Killa
  • Jay Briscoe’s Jay Driller
  • Jay Lethal’s Lethal Injection
  • Josh Woods’ Gorilla Lock
  • Kenny King’s Royal Flush
  • Max The Impaler’s Wasteland
  • Miranda Alize’s Drive-By
  • Rok-C’s Code Rock
  • Rush’s Bulls Horns
  • Shane Taylor’s Welcome to the Land
  • SOS’ Cointel
  • Trish Adora’s Lariat Tubman

Bandido’s 21 Plex won the award last year, and I see no reason for that to change this year. It is a very cool suplex always worth a whoa. Here’s a flashback of the move from 2018 with the use of a chair.

Best Entrance

  • The Allure
  • Ashley Vox
  • Brian Johnson
  • Dalton Castle
  • Danhausen
  • Demonic Flamita
  • EC3
  • Josh Woods
  • Max The Impaler
  • PCO
  • The Righteous
  • Willow Nightingale
  • World Famous CB

Dalton Castle is a man of panache. His entrance is as well. The absurdity of Castle peacocking with his boys always puts a smile on my face.

Breakout Star of the Year

  • Brian Johnson
  • Demonic Flamita
  • Fred Yehi
  • Eli Isom
  • Josh Woods
  • LSG
  • Quinn McKay
  • SOS
  • Tony Deppen
  • World Famous CB

2021 was the year Josh Woods put it all together. He went from goofy prospect to top-notch stud. Woods’ wrestling skills were always evident, but he had trouble reaching his potential. That changed when the Pure division returned. Woods excelled in the ring and eventually reached his goal of winning the Pure Championship by dethroning Jonathan Gresham.

Who are your picks for the ROH 2021 awards?