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Unread 09-13-2017, 08:26 PM
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Default 2002 Year-End Awards

The 2002 awards and Power 500 are out.

Wrestler of the Year:

Mitsuharu Misawa (NOAH) (x3)

Previous Winners (since 2001):
2001: Steve Austin (WWF)

With Austin gone from WWF/WWE and now slumming it in second-rate (more like third-rate) touring promotions, this award was left wide open this year. The Rock seemed like an obvious candidate to win it, and he had a great year despite not being featured as heavily as he probably should have been. He was narrowly edged out by NOAH's Misawa though, who took the award for the third time (and the first since 1997, when he was still with All Japan.) Misawa, owner and head booker of the company, booked himself to drop the GHC Heavyweight title to Akira Taue in February and outside of one unsuccessful challenge of Taue in June, he stayed out of the title picture for the rest of the year. I didn't think that was the best move for the company, and Misawa winning this award validates my thoughts. Misawa had too many amazing, match of the year candidates to list this year, but two of his matches stood apart from the rest: a non-title loss to Taue on TV in May, and a loss to Yoshinari Ogawa on TV a month prior. (You can't say the guy abuses his power and doesn't put others over.) Misawa is still performing at an elite level obviously, but at 40 years old, I expect him to start declining soon.

Company of the Year:

Pro Wrestling NOAH (x2)

Previous Winners (since 2001):
2001: NOAH

If you'd told me at the beginning of the year that Misawa was going to drop the GHC title to Akira Taue in February and largely stay out of the title scene for the rest of the year, I would've given NOAH very little chance of winning this award for the second year in a row, yet here we are. Taue has undeniably been a weaker champion than Misawa was, but as you'll see if you examine the top 10 of this year's Power 500, NOAH has an extremely talented batch of main event stars they can trot out on their PPVs and their weekly TV show. They're still ranked behind New Japan in the battle for the #1 spot in Japan, but they've seen steady gains in their popularity over the last year while NJPW has been stagnant, not losing any fans but not really gaining any either. If they can put together another year like this one, I expect NOAH to be the top dog in Japan by the end of 2003.

Team of the Year:

TenKoji (Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima, NJPW)

Previous Winners (since 2001):
2001: Two Man Power Trip (HHH and Austin) (WWF)

I won't lie: I was hoping that our own True Heroes would win this award, and was a little bit disappointed when I saw this outcome. Maybe if the middle two Heroes/Hardys matches hadn't underperformed (relatively speaking) it might have been possible, but upon further review this looks like the correct choice. TenKoji had numerous great matches in 2002, with the two best being a successful title defense against Jushin Liger and future IWGP Heavyweight Champion Osamu Nishimura on TV in May, and another TV defense in August against Negro Casas and Kazuyuki Fujita. While I would've loved to see our guys take this award, I'm glad it didn't go to a WWE team, especially a thrown together one like Austin and HHH last year.

Match of the Year:

The Rock and Hollywood Hogan vs. Shawn Michaels and Kane from WWE Smackdown! in August

Previous Winners (since 2001):
2001: Steve Austin vs. Chris Benoit from Survivor Series in November (WWF)

The in-ring work obviously wasn't the greatest with the ancient Hulkster limping around, but the crowd heat was absolutely molten for this match. The heel pairing of arrogant Hollywood star Rock and (wannabe) Hollywood star Hogan was an intriguing one, but this is one of only two times they've teamed up.

Show of the Year:

WCW Starrcade in December

Previous Winners (since 2001):
2001: Judgment Day in May (WWF)

I definitely did a little fist pump when I saw this one. This show should still be fresh in everyone's minds, so no need to go into detail on it. This result is a really encouraging sign for our long-term prospects. If we're capable of putting on the best show of the year, I firmly believe we're capable of getting back to the top one day.

Most Improved Company of the Year:

Michinoku Pro Wrestling

Previous Winners (since 2001):

I'm not entirely sure I agree with this. Michinoku Pro did experience some good growth this year, but I'd say there were several companies who did more, including NOAH and even ourselves. But hey, good look to them. I'd love to see them continue to thrive despite Vince's baffling declaration of war on them.

Young Wrestler of the Year (age 24 or younger):

CM Punk (WCW)

Previous Winners (since 2001):
2001: Jeff Hardy (WWF)

He missed out on tag team of the year, but this was a nice feather in Punk's cap (and mine too, I'd say.) This was a huge year for Punk, who improved his ranking in the Power 500 by almost a full 100 spots. After he and Lance won the tag titles at Starrcade at the end of last year, they were mainstays in the division all year. The arrival of the Hardys gave them a great babyface team to work with, and the two teams worked some magic together. The majority of Punk's 2002 highlights came with Lance, but he did have strong singles matches with Jeff Hardy, Mortis and Rob Van Dam. The Heroes have now dropped the titles in the climactic match of the feud with the Hardys, but Punk and Storm both figure heavily into the future of the company.

Veteran Wrestler of the Year (age 42 or older):

Tatsumi Fujinami (NJPW) (x2)

Previous Winners (since 2001):
2001: Tatsumi Fujinami (NJPW)

Fujinami won this award last year, and considering his IWGP Heavyweight title run lasted until October of this year, it was no surprise to see him repeat. He's 49, but if anything he had a better year in 2002 than he did in 2001. He's not the top dog anymore (nor should he be), but still appears to be set up for a prominent role in NJPW in 2003 since he and Yuji Nagata currently hold the IWGP Heavyweight tag titles.

Female Wrestler of the Year:

Chigusa Nagayo (GAEA/WCW)

Previous Winners (since 2001):
2001: Aja Kong (GAEA)

She's currently the #2 babyface on our Renaissance brand, but if I'm being honest, most of her best work in 2002 was done in the company she owned, the now-defunct GAEA. In particular, her three best matches of the year were all singles bouts with Aja Kong, so hopefully they'll also do well together at our upcoming Dancing with the Devil PPV. I'll be interested to see what happens with this award in 2003 now that all the major joshi promotions are out of business.

Independent Wrestler of the Year:

Villano V

Previous Winners (since 2001):
2001: Marc Mero

Good for Villano V on winning this award I guess, but if I were him I'd be a little upset that Villanos II-IV are all still employed by CMLL while he has to look for work on the smaller shows in Mexico.

Manager of the Year:

Debra (WWE) (x2)

Previous Winners (since 2001):
2001: Paul Heyman (WWF) (x2)

I was surprised she stuck around WWF/WWE after her husband Steve Austin left, but she's still there and received this award and now they're divorced, so I guess she made the right decision.

Announcer of the Year:

Jim Ross (WWE) (x11)

Previous Winners (since 2001):
2001: Jim Ross (WWF) (x10)

They might as well rename this award in JR's honor at this point, because he's won it five times in a row and eleven overall. No one has ever sold the drama of the matches better than Jim, and he's an asset that adds so much to WWE's shows.

Color Commentator of the Year:

Takashi Nakano (NJPW)

Previous Winners (since 2001):
2001: Bret Hart (WCW)

I have been dethroned! Nakano has been around for a long time, and serves as New Japan's primary color analyst. Not much else to say.

Referee of the Year:

Red Shoes Unno (NJPW)

Previous Winners (since 2001):
2001: Nick Patrick (WCW)

Poor Slick Nick Patrick was denied a repeat win. Red Shoes is the top ref in NJPW, and one of the best in the world (obviously.)

1. Mitsuharu Misawa
2. The Rock
3. Jun Akiyama
4. Keiji Mutoh
5. Kurt Angle
6. Kenta Kobashi
7. Triple H
8. Kane
9. Yoshinari Ogawa
10. Akira Taue
11. Tatsumi Fujinami
12. Toshiaki Kawada
13. Shawn Michaels
14. Chris Jericho
15. Eddie Guerrero
16. Kensuke Sasaki
17. The Undertaker
18. Chris Benoit
19. Jushin Liger
20. Hiroyoshi Tenzan
21. Satoshi Kojima
22. Osamu Nishimura
23. Steve Austin
24. Manabu Nakanishi
25. Koji Kanemoto
26. Hulk Hogan
27. Scott Hall
28. Hiroshi Hase
29. Big Show
30. Yuji Nagata
31. Kazuyuki Fujita
32. Lance Storm
33. Genichiro Tenryu
34. Dr. Wagner Jr.
35. Negro Casas
36. Jeff Hardy
37. Taiyo Kea
38. Rey Mysterio Jr.
39. Jinsei Shinzaki
40. Great Sasuke
41. William Regal
42. Yoshihiro Takayama
43. Booker T
44. CM Punk
45. Daisuke Ikeda
46. Minoru Tanaka
47. Masahiro Chono
48. Rob Van Dam
49. Matt Hardy
50. Ricky Marvin
51. Tiger Mask IV
52. Masao Inoue
53. Naomichi Marufuji
54. Shane Douglas
55. Mr. Perfect
56. Bubba Ray Dudley
57. Gran Naniwa
58. AJ Styles
59. Hiroshi Tanahashi
60. Atlantis
61. Marty Jannetty
62. Shinya Hashimoto
63. Dragon Kid
64. Christian
65. Test
66. El Samurai
67. Scott Steiner
68. Masato Tanaka
69. King Corino
70. D-Von Dudley
71. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
72. Hardcore Holly
73. Universo 2000
74. Abismo Negro
75. Chris Candido
76. Juventud Guerrera
77. Brian Christopher
78. El Hijo del Santo
79. Blue Panther
80. Hector Garza
81. Riki Choshu
82. Mortis
83. Mike Barton
84. Jerry Lynn
85. Samoa Joe
86. Edge
87. Raven
88. Rayo de Jalisco Jr.
89. Stevie Richards
90. The Unnatural
91. Rick Steiner
92. The Destroyer
93. Mr. Gannosuke
94. Perry Saturn
95. Tatsuhito Takaiwa
96. Chad Collyer
97. TAKA
98. Albert
99. Ultimo Dragon
100. Rhyno
Several WCW men (and women) narrowly missed out on the top 100, with the closest being the former American Dragon, now unmasked as Bryan Danielson, at #103.

Originally Posted by Beejus View Post
Very good show TFC, it feels like your WCW has really come into its own. It is still definitely #2 in the world, because Vince's grip isn't going to be loosened easily, but you have definitely made some great waves, and on top of that getting an A* show out of Starrcade is no small feat in itself. I love that you have already begun advertising that Starrcade 2003 will be back home in Greensboro, which is incredible for a historical standpoint. I can't say that I'm all for Rey as champion yet, I feel like perhaps you will end up with a situation like RVD had for you after last Starrcade, where you just end up with a lot of matches penalized for one reason or another. I know Adam has toned down the psychology penalty, but if the match isn't up to snuff, it can still rear its ugly head I'm sure.
Not just an A*, but show of the year! I honestly wasn't expecting that. (I also wasn't aware that TV shows can't win that award, but that does seem fitting to me.)

I'm #2 in importance, but #3 in influence (NJPW is actually #1 in influence, ahead of even WWE). I would definitely consider myself above NJPW, NOAH and all the rest of the Japanese companies though, because I'm building up in every region while none of them have any real popularity outside of Japan. I expect that it'll be a long and difficult road to try and knock WWE out of the #1 spot, especially if Rock sticks around. They would massacre me in a national battle right now. I think I might have to make a move or two when I hit National to try and close that gap a bit.

I definitely want to make a big deal out of the 20th anniversary of Starrcade, and taking it back where it began seemed fitting. I worry that I might actually be shortchanging myself a bit, because by that time I might be popular enough to draw in a bigger arena. I guess if it comes to that I can just run a bigger arena somewhere else in North Carolina.

Rey's psychology is now high enough that I'm pretty sure it's impossible for him to get hit with that penalty. He's experienced massive growth in that over the last year, to the point that I think Lance Storm and Manami Toyota are the only active wrestlers in the company who are better.

But it was a great idea to put the Tag title match on last, and I liked how you worded the way the match went. For one, I just loved Bret's digs at Shawn throughout the show (something we haven't really seen much of as of yet, it's a nice touch ) but just the way the main event was laid out makes me think of how Bret would do a ladder match. It wouldn't be an overbooked mess of spot after spot after spot, it would be a build up to the crescendo.

What gets me is Ric Flair. Helping Corino makes me think that either Ric is just that upset at Arn that he wanted to help the Empire, or he has been converted and has joined the fold? Either way, some Naitch is better than no Naitch, and I look forward to seeing him explain it.

Can't wait for the next Nitro!
I do try to take little digs at Shawn, Hunter and Vince here and there.

I wanted to try and write the ladder match up in a way that would make sense with the Slow Build road agent note I used, plus I agree that this is more in line with Bret Hart's thoughts on how to structure a main event level match. Thanks for making note of that, because this was something I struggled with a bit.

I'll probably need to use a Spotlight Segment for Flair's promo on the first Nitro of 2003 (unless I tease it along and don't have him fully explain himself until Sin, but that's doubtful.)

Originally Posted by K-Nection View Post
Scott Steiner be like....

Steiner: You need to get rid of that Kaz Hyashi....he will never amount to anything!
I can't say I blame him!

Originally Posted by michgcs View Post
Great read, man. Glad to see you bring it even more for Starrcade. Interested to see how Alexander (The Great?) does.

AJ as US champ sounds nice, as does a potential feud with Finlay, but how about an updated picture for the guy?

Mysterio vs The Unnatural is gonna be good, hopefully both guys bring the heat.

Bit surprised that Scotty took it easy on his brother.

Bryan Danielson is here! Fingers crossed that his in-ring skills are coming along as well as his story.
The heel turn and pairing with Mortis should be a great thing for Alex's career.

I'll likely update the pics for a number of guys with the new year. I actually went to do exactly that with AJ for that champions update, but I couldn't find a suitable picture. Almost all of the AJ pictures in the three different organic-style folders I have are from many years later. There was one that looked suitable for this era, but it screamed "heel" to me.

Scott was only okay with the loss because I protected him. Brother or not, Big Poppa Pump's looking out for number one!

Danielson's in-ring skills are coming along very well. For a comparison: among the top row stats, he's better than AJ Styles at everything except for aerial and flashiness. Plus he's got one of the highest psych stats in the company.

Originally Posted by sportsfanmas View Post
Excellent read man, great stuff. Was hoping I did enough in the predictions to get a team in the UFS, but no such luck. Good luck to those that did make it.

BTW, I'm getting ready to send you a PM about a couple things.

Keep up the good work, I only wish I could write a dynasty half as good as you do. And I wish I had the time to commit more to my dynasty report.
Close, but no cigar! It's interesting to see how many people predict in every show of the contest but still don't qualify for the UFS, because I'm almost positive that the first UFS (in TGAAB) had at least one, maybe even two people who made it in despite missing an entire show.

I've already PMed you, but my biggest message here to you and anyone else writing a dynasty is simple: have fun! That's the only thing that truly matters in the end.

Originally Posted by DavidCorperial View Post
I think we are seeing the truest sign of how different this WCW is from the original, I think you have 5 out of your 6 champions eligible for the Cruserweight title and the smallest guy on your roster holding the main title.
Yep; that's a natural byproduct of playing as Bret, a master technician, with a product focusing on good ring work. For this reason I think I may eventually drop the cruiserweight title, because it seems somewhat superfluous in a company where those guys can headline.

Originally Posted by odan View Post
great end of the year. really loving how this wcw is shaping up.

and damn close finish only 2 points of the #8 spot. i think i probably made some stupid mistakes with the predictions thinking russo would be hiding in the wings to swerve us a little more
If you want Russo booking, go watch NWA: TNA on Urban America.

Last edited by The Final Countdown : 09-13-2017 at 08:35 PM.
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