Part 2 of the EC’s 2016 Pro Wrestling awards.
Debut of the Year – The Monster Matazna Cueto debuts during Aztec Warfare II
Matazna Cueto had appeared earlier in Lucha Underground, but only in storyline segments. When he finally had his in-ring debut, he actually lived up to the monster hype.
Shinsuke Nakamura debuts in NXT
Finn Balor debuts on RAW
Event of the Year – NJPW – King of Pro-Wrestling
Looking back of the big events of 2016, this one may not have had the most memorable moments, but nearly every match was a great match.
WWE NXT – NXT TakeOver: Dallas
WWE – Cruiserweight Classic
Lucha Undergrund – Ultima Lucha Dos
Promotion of the Year –WWE
There were a lot of ups and downs for the WWE this year. There were some events that were duds, and a number of missteps with story lines and talent. But its undeniable that WWE dominated 2016. Whether it was talk of Bullet Club members finally debuting in WWE, the Cruiserweight Classic, the vastly improved Women’s Division, the brand split, or a NXT match that was incredible the promotion was nearly inescapable for wrestling fans. The WWE may have produced too much content in 2016, but it was more varied and entertaining than any other associations.
Wrestler of the Year – AJ Styles
Styles started the year getting boot from Bullet Club with his own finishing move, effectively passed the torch to the next generation of NJPW talent. His WWE debut at the Royal Rumble was exciting for fans and critics alike. He had headling PPV matches with Roman Reigns and John Cena. Then when Cena went to part-time status, AJ Styles became the marquee star on Smackdown Live. He went from a rookie to carrying WWE’s tuesday night show in less than a year.
Runners – Up