As we near the end of 2016, the Casual Smart continues to hand out awards for the best of the year. After a wild year, here’s the picks for the best of NXT.
Feud of the Year: DIY vs The Revival
This turned out to be one feud that remained entertaining from start to finish. There was never a moment where it became dull or oversaturated. The writers of NXT did an excellent job at building the Revival as the dispicable heel tag team, and they found the perfect foil in DIY.
In the two matches these teams had against one another, the emotion and intensity was at a high. The first match especially tugged the heart strings of fans, as a majority of them wanted DIY to win. Well the second match was an amazing follow up because it gave the fans a chance to be genuinely happy.
Runner Up: Shinsuke Nakamura vs Samoa Joe
Match of the Year: Sami Zayn vs Shinsuke Nakamura
There’s not much to say about this match, it was simply mesmerizing.
While a lot of fans have seen Nakamura wrestle in NJPW, it was special to see him debut in a WWE ring. Along with that, him and Zayn had instant chemistry. That battle allowed for Sami to cement himself as one of the best workers in the company, and also set the tone for the run Nakamura would go on.
Runner Up: DIY vs The Revival (Takeover: Toronto)
Male Wrestler of the Year: Samoa Joe
How could anybody not choose Joe? He’s been a consistent presence all year long, and his character has been more than entertaining.
The feuds Joe has been involved in did eventually become stale, but as a wrestler and character, his individual effort never did. Also, his booking was absolutely amazing. There was never a time this year where he looked like anything less than a monster. If the WWE is smart, they’ll continue this for his upcoming main roster run.
Runner Up: Bobby Roode and Shinsuke Nakamura
Female Wrestler of the Year: Asuka
Similar to Joe, Asuka’s been booked as nothing less than a monster, and that’s makes her a unique character. She’s done a magnificent job at standing out from the other women in the entire WWE roster.
Asuka is very much deserving of this award, but she didn’t have much competition towards the second half of the year. After she won the title from Bayley, and defeated Nia, there wasn’t anything left for her to do. Thankfully, she has the charisma to remain entertaining, even when her division is slim. With tha being said, expect the Empress to have an exciting 2017, as it appears Ember Moon will be chasing her for the title.
Runner Up: N/A
New Comer of the Year: Bobby Roode
Choosing between Roode and Nakamura was not easy. Both men lit the NXT world on fire this past year, and an argument can be made for both of them.
The reason why Roode deserves this slightly more than Nakamura is because he came in with less hype and wasn’t leaving any major promotion to sign with WWE, yet he’s just as over. Roode was somewhat cold coming in (before his TV debut), but he immidietely made an impact with his overall character. Not only can Bobby wrestle, he knows how to cut an amazing promo that’ll always get reactions from the fans.
Runner Up: Shinsuke Nakamura
Takeover of the Year: Dallas
This was arguably the most eventful Takeover within the past year. We were given two title changes (tag titles and women’s title), and two massive debuts (Nakamura and Aries). Just about all of the matches were stellar, and it gave the fans a reason to be excited about NXT programming afterwards. While Nakamura vs Zayn did steal the show, we can’t forget how Joe vs Balor was done in a great way to extend their feud.
Runner Up: Toronto