TNA had a lot going on this past year. From falling apart and almost shutting down to giving the fans a refreshing product, they were never out of the spotlight. While it had some low points, TNA should consider this year a success, as it’s been a while since the wrestling community has talked about them this much.
Since I’ve picked up TNA on this blog, it’s only fair I give them awards, just like the WWE. Here are the 2016 Casual Smart Awards: TNA.
Feud of the Year : Matt Hardy vs Jeff Hardy
There’s no argument about it, this feud helped with putting TNA back on the map for the casual wrestling fan. For a feud that’s been done several times since their WWE days, it’s remarkable how the two can still give the fans a fresh feud. Along with that, this turned into a year long program where the Hardys were usually the highlight of Impact.
Runner Up: Decay vs Hardys
PPV of the Year : Bound For Glory
It’s not like there was much to choose from, but out of the two PPVs, BFG was certainly the stronger show. While the episode of Impact that followed wasn’t amazing, this PPV did a great job at wrapping up several big stories. The company also did a great job at promoting this as a big deal, which added it’s overall excitement. The match quality was good, and it remained entertaining from start to finish.
Runner Up: Slammiversary
Male Wrestler of the Year: Broken Matt Hardy
Once Broken Matt debuted on Impact, he made wrestling history. His feud with Jeff revitalized the company, but he himself carried that feud. How often do we see one wrestler can carry a feud with it being the best thing on the show?
In fact, I’d be willing to argue that Matt Hardy may be the pro wrestler of 2016. It’s impressive how someone such as himself was able to go back to the drawing board, and reinvent himself in a way that’s never been seen before. Yes, we’ve seen slight gimmick changes in the past, but I don’t believe anything has been this extreme and successful. Hardy took a chance, and it worked.
Runner Up: Lashley
Knockout of the Year: Maria Kanellis/Rosemary
Honestly, both of these women have been excellent additions to TNA’s knockouts division, and it wouldn’t be fair to choose between them.
Maria is barely considered a pro wrestler, however she found a way to gain heat with the audience on every episode of Impact. The TNA creative team could’ve kept her strictly with Bennett, but they gave her the chance to lead the knockouts division to which she succeeded. She’s the perfect foil for every babyface knockout on the roster, and it’s incredible to see how versatile she truly is.
Unlike Maria, Rosemary is a wrestler first, but she found success as the velet for Decay. While Crazzy Steve and Abyss already had great chemistry, Rosemary was the cherry on top that made them feel like a complete team. Once she joined the unorthodox tag team, it’s fair to say she carried every promo. The work Rosemary showcased in the Decay-Hardy feud was brilliant, and she certainly stood out as much as Matt.
Runner Up: Gail Kim
Newcomer of the Year: Mike Bennett
Out of the few newcomers TNA had this past year, none of them stood out as much as Bennett. Before arriving to the Impact Zone, he found success in tag team wrestling, but fans now know he’s just as good, if not better, as a singles competitor. The writing team initially gave Bennett a character that was over the top, but he managed to become one of the more compelling characters as he was toned down and focused on being a classic heel. He’s certainly someone that deserves a run with the TNA championship in 2017.
Runner Up: Moose
Match of the Year: The Final Deletion
Is there even an argument against this? This match is the sole reason TNA’s popularity grew as much as it did. This wacky backyard brawl essentially helped Matt’s broken character become as popular as he did. It very much allowed TNA to give depth to the Hardy feud and Matt’s new persona. Not only was the match entertaining, it actually grew and became staple of TNA television in the second half of 2016. If it wasn’t for Final Deletion, the fans would’ve never gotten Delete or Decay, and Total Nonstop Deletion.
The Final Deletion is also a symbol of TNA’s willingness to take a big risk. The feedback could’ve gone one of two ways, and it takes a lot to pull the trigger on a scenario like that. For a company that was falling apart at the time, the show runners deserve a lot of credit for giving the fans something to talk about other than the company’s financial situation.
Runner Up: The Great War