R-Truth will hand out WWE’s Slammy Awards on Wednesday morning, and we’ll learn who the fans voted for and the powers-that-be selected from among the nominees in ten categories announced at the start of the month.
Heading into that show on Dec. 23 at 10 a.m., I thought to myself, “self, who would the staff of Cageside Seats pick for these awards if they were given these lists of nominees?” Then I realized I’m on the staff of Cageside Seats, and I could ask my colleagues to find out.
After polling Geno Mrosko, Rev. Claire, Kyle Decker, Stella Cheeks, Cain A. Knight, and Big Money Drew - I had my answers. None of our choices were unanimous. Some barely produced a majority. We had one tie. But I can promise there was no voter fraud. And I think the variety of responses are testament to the old maxim about opinions and assholes, and more importantly to cSs’ core value - wrestling fans like different things, and that’s okay.
So without further ado, our 2020 Slammy Awards go to...
Superstar of the Year: Roman Reigns
Also receiving votes: Drew McIntyre, Asuka
Even those of us who’ve been clamoring for a heel turn never dreamed it would go this well. The Tribal Chief has made every storyline he’s involved in the best thing on the main roster, and helped make SmackDown better than it’s been in years.
Match of the Year: Sasha Banks vs. Bayley - Hell in a Cell
Also receiving votes: Men’s Royal Rumble, The Boneyard Match, AJ Styles/Jeff Hardy/Sami Zayn Triple Threat Ladder match, Reigns/Jey Uso “I Quit”
This was close, only edging the Rumble (which my man Geno advocated for in a separate post you can read here) by half a vote. It wasn’t the way most of us had envisioned it, but it was a fitting payoff to a great run. Banks & Bayley made WWE television watchable over the summer, delivering entertaining segments and really good matches on the regular. Then they got in the Cell, beat the crap out of each other, and made it clear they’re two of the best wrestlers in the world.
Rivalry of the Year: Sasha Banks vs. Bayley
Also receiving votes: Edge vs. Randy Orton
See above, mostly. In addition though, there were a few more things that made it a great story. One was the way they integrated their history into it. The others were how great Bayley was at being bad, and how good that made it feel when they did the right thing and finally used it to give Sasha a singles title reign that wasn’t temporary.
Tag Team of the Year: Street Profits
Also receiving votes: The Golden Role Models, Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler, The New Day
Both the men’s and women’s pairs divisions are usually an afterthought for WWE unless they’re advancing storylines for solo acts, and that energy trickled down into the voting here. Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford have had straps around their waist for most of the year, and earned the nod from the majority of our team.
Return of the Year: Edge
Also receiving votes: Roman Reigns, Sami Zayn
It was the worst kept secret on the web, and we still couldn’t contain ourselves when “Metalingus” came on in Minute Maid Park. It wasn’t all smooth sailing from there, and his Greatest Wrestling Match Ever injury put it on pause faster than anyone wanted. But there was plenty of great stuff while he was around, we got a killer documentary out of the deal, and we know he’ll be back again.
Ring Gear of the Year: Sasha Banks
Also receiving votes: The New Day, Bianca Belair
As my guy Kyle said, this is because of how often we’ve said ”God damn” when Banks walks out.
It pays to be married to one of the best designers in the biz.
Breakout Star of the Year: Street Profits
Also receiving votes: Bianca Belair, Otis
Like their win in the Tag Team category, this one came with a bit of a shrug. Which isn’t Tez & Dawkins’ fault. They made the most of everything they were given... seriously, less talents dudes might have never recovered from some of the “Anything You Can Do We Can Do Better” material. The Profits not only survived it, they made it work. All the nominees had highlight moments this year, but Ford & Dawkins were the ones who stayed prominent for the longest stretch.
Female Superstar of the Year: Sasha Banks
Also receiving votes: Bayley, Asuka
As one of two people who voted for Bay, I’d like to just offer up the one-finger salute she gave Booker T to my fellow voters while ranting about how her great work made Sasha’s year possible. But DING DONG, only one person did a jet pack-assisted DDT for Disney this year, so...
Poor Asuka deserved better too, but was let down by Raw creative forgetting about her way too often.
Male Superstar of the Year: Roman Reigns, Drew McIntyre (tie)
Also receiving votes: Randy Orton
McIntyre’s rise from mid-carder to “The Star of Monday Night Raw” would have won this in a walk if not for the work Reigns has been turning in since SummerSlam. That the WWE champ managed to split the vote anyway tells you all you need to know about how great his year has been. Neither man may have won, but we all won watching them do their thing in 2020.
Moment of the Year: Edge’s return
Also receiving votes: Becky Lynch’s pregnancy announcement
Those are our picks. You can let us know yours below, and join us right here tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. ET to see who the masses and the brass selected.