Voting for this year's Slammy Awards is now open and winners will be announced next Monday night on a special edition of Raw in Minneapolis. Over the next couple of days, you'll see ballots from the staff here at Cageside, starting with myself.
Superstar of the Year
All superstars eligible
This is a difficult category and, really, is essentially a two horse race between John Cena, who spent much of the year as US champion delivering a ton of good matches against a variety of stars, and Seth Rollins, who spent much of the year as WWE world heavyweight champion delivering good matches with some of the best work in all of pro wrestling. I tend to lean Cena here because I never felt like he was overexposed and can't remember ever praying to the wrestling gods that he wouldn't start the show with a 20 minute promo. He also gave good to great matches with everyone up and down the card, which isn't something you can say for Rollins, even if Seth's work was better overall. The US title became a thing that mattered and then he lost it to Alberto Del Rio and left and, well, do you ever hear anything at all about the US title anymore?
Diva of the Year
This is the easiest vote this year. Nikki's accomplishments in kayfabe are well documented but it really has been something watching her develop into so much more than a Total Diva, mainly with a Bellahammer to die for (and at the forearm of). If we were including NXT, Sasha Banks would be right there but this is WWE only and, with that in mind, she doesn't even belong on the list of nominees.
Breakout Star of the Year
It feels like the nominees here have been done for the sole purpose of ensuring Owens wins the award. Realistically, only Charlotte and Strowman have a case against him and it's a super flimsy case that falls apart under any scrutiny. And while Owens isn't nearly the star he should be right now, he's certainly at the top of this list.
Tag Team of the Year
The New Day
The Prime Time Players
Tyson Kidd & Cesaro
The Lucha Dragons
You could argue New Day is one of the top acts in all of wrestling this year. The schtick is starting to wear thin but even if it just starts pissing people off, they're a heel group and it will still serve its function. My one issue with New Day is their lack of great matches as a team, but they just tore the house down at TLC, even if much of the credit goes to others in the match.
Match of the Year
John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins (Royal Rumble)
Sting vs. Triple H (WrestleMania 31)
John Cena vs. Kevin Owens (Elimination Chamber)
Roman Reigns vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens vs. Alberto Del Rio (Raw)
Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker (Hell in a Cell)
Having gone back and watched each one of these matches again, the triple threat at the Rumble is the easy winner. It's downright ridiculous that Sting vs. Triple H is the representative from WrestleMania 31 when Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar (with a cash-in from Seth Rollins) isn't an option. That may well have been the best WWE match this year.
Rivalry of the Year
Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt
The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar
John Cena vs. Rusev
Team Bella vs. Team BAD vs. PCB
Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins
I'm in for the storytelling more than anything else and while they weren't telling the exact story I was hoping for, it was close enough to be better than anything else on the list. Undertaker, as dominant as he's been throughout his career, never once had Brock Lesnar's number. I appreciate that all involved went through with this.
WWE Network Show of the Year
Table for 3
Stone Cold Podcast
Breaking Ground is gimmicked to the gills, so that's out. Swerved is fun but not as funny as it could be. The Stone Cold Podcast is always good but its quality has fallen off after the first couple with Vince McMahon and Triple H. WWE 24 is solid but Table for 3 is the clear winner here. Part of the appeal of pro wrestling is the lack of knowledge of the perspectives of the people playing the characters and this is a window into that in a friendly format that invites compelling discussion.
Double-Cross of the Year
Jon Stewart attacks John Cena
Randy Orton turns on The Authority
Paige attacks Charlotte and Becky Lynch
Stardust betrays Goldust
Damien Mizdow eliminates The Miz
A horrible category. I guess Stewart screaming over Cena wins because it was an actually shocking thing, even if it was kind of dumb.
Surprise Return of the Year
Jericho teams up with Reigns and Ambrose
The Dudley Boyz return to confront The New Day
Sting ambushes Rollins and Triple H
Del Rio answers Cena's US open challenge
Demon Kane prevents Sheamus' Money in the Bank cash-in
I'm the biggest Sting fan you'll find, so I'm going with the Stinger here. I'll back it up with the fact that it was an actually good segment and even though we knew he was going to be the guy under the cloth instead of a statue, it was still awesome when the big reveal came.
Hashtag of the Year
This is just a dumb category but at least if you followed the RKOOUTTANOWHERE hashtag you were almost certainly led to some hilarious vines, or GIFs, or videos.
Celebrity Moment of the Year
Stephen Amell dives onto Stardust
The cast of Entourage introduces Zack Ryder
Kevin Owens powerbombs Machine Gun Kelly off the stage
Jon Stewart gets on Cena's bad side
Wayne Rooney slaps King Barrett
A legitimately great moment in WWE this year, Machine Gun Kelly learned a hard lesson when he went pushing Kevin Owens around. Celebrities love to act like they want to get involved in the action but that rarely equals awesome moments like this. Bless him.
"Tell Me You Didn't Just Say That" Moment of the Year
Ambrose calls Rollins "Justin Bieber"
Rollins calls Johnny Manziel "Johnny Idiot Face"
Lesnar introduces "Suplex City" to the world
Rollins says Kane was just "there" at WrestleMania
Paige spoils Charlotte's Divas title celebration
Another bad category with nominees that hardly register. Rollins got plenty of press for his burn on the Cleveland Browns QB but I still prefer Lesnar telling Roman Reigns right where he was taking him in the main event of WrestleMania.
Best John Cena US open challenge
Cena vs. Cesaro
Cena vs. Ziggler
Cena vs. Zayn
Cena vs. Ambrose
Cena vs. Neville
When Bret Hart showed up to introduce Sami Zayn in his hometown making his debut on Monday Night Raw to challenge John Cena for his US title, it was special enough. Then, he injured his shoulder getting way too hype for the match itself. Despite this, he pushed forward with the match and didn't hold back one bit despite undoubtedly being in unbearable pain. This was fantastic.
LOL Moment of the Year
Edge and Christian battle New Day
The Bushwhackers Hall of Fame speech
The Miz and Damien Mizdow commercial
The Authority dance with The New Day
R-Truth thinks he's in the Money in the Bank ladder match
Feel free to bomb me for this choice but confused R-Truth is one of the best characters on WWE television. They don't overdo it and it's always funny.
"This is Awesome" Moment of the Year
Brock Lesnar destroys J&J Security's car
Randy Orton's RKO to Seth Rollins at WrestleMania 31
Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks are called up to the main roster
The Shield give Randy Orton a triple powerbomb
The Rock and Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania 31
A strong category with some worthy contenders but there was an electricity in the air when The Rock came out at WrestleMania 31. When he went to the front row and found Ronda Rousey it created an amazing television moment. You know the one I'm talking about, that moment the camera panned to show her face and you just knew the shit was on and Stephanie McMahon was about to take a beatdown. Instead, Triple H took a hip toss, sold like he'd been shot, and they only teased the Stephanie beatdown. One day.
"OMG!" Shocking Moment of the Year
Seth Rollins cashes in Money in the Bank contract at WrestleMania 31
Brock Lesnar destroys everyone
Kalisto hits Salida Del Sol off a ladder through another ladder
Undertaker is abducted by The Wyatt Family
Sheamus cashes in Money in the Bank contract at Survivor Series
They've done the Money in the Bank cash-ins for years and years and never in the main event of a WrestleMania. The idea seemed possible but I'm not sure anyone actually expected they would go through with it, especially considering how hard they had gone forward with Roman Reigns' push. But they did, and then they played it perfectly with how it was booked leading to his win.
Extreme Moment of the Year
Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker have a pull apart brawl
Dean Ambrose is powerbombed through a ladder at WrestleMania 31 by Luke Harper
Seth Rollins breaks John Cena's nose
Roman Reigns snaps, destroys everyone at TLC
Neville hits a splash off a ladder onto a group of stars
That pull apart brawl was something special. Brock screaming "I'm going to kill you" was cool enough but Undertaker responding with "you're gonna have to" put this over as one of the very best segments of the year. If this is the only place I can vote for it, this is where I'm voting for it.
That's my ballot. Stay tuned for more in the coming days.