Lightning and I got together and decided that we needed to recognize the best of the best, and the best of the worst for the year 2012. Here’s what we’ve come up with! For some of the categories, Lightning and I have different choices, and for others we easily agreed. We hope you enjoy it!

Knockout of the Year:
Thunder and Lightning: Miss Tessmacher – A no brainer to start with. Gail Kim has led the knockouts for some time, and Brooke Tessmacher showed us who she is this year as she continues to have good match after good match each week on Impact.

Diva of the Year:
Thunder and Lightning: Eve – Eve came into her own while she struggled to overcome the monstrous shadow of K2. She is now the leading heel diva and has done a fantastic job representing a very weak divas and often misdirected divas division in WWE.

Now You See Me, Now You Don’t Award:
Thunder and Lightning: Christian – This is a huge disappointment for both of us. Christian had an amazing year in 2011 and had one of the best series of matches that I’ve ever seen with Randy Orton, but 2012 was just a bad year of injuries(outside of a fantastic series of matches with Cody Rhodes). Nearing age 40, we’re hoping Christian can recover and bounce back to have a tremendous 2013.

Why Did I Come Back? Award:
Thunder and Lightning: Tensai – Does anybody really care about this guy? All we heard was how this guy ate…I mean dominated Japan, and then he came onto the scene as captain boring. Did he really get a victory over John Cena on Raw? Was there actual talk for him to carry a World Title? If so, I’m glad somebody woke up and realized what a joke it would have been. I don’t see anything major happening for Tensai in 2013, and we can all be thankful for that.

Most Improved:
Thunder and Lightning: Adam Cole(ROH), Bully Ray(TNA), Cody Rhodes(WWE) – Adam Cole has become one of the best wrestlers in ROH, and he has a huge future ahead. Bully Ray has been promised big things in TNA, and I only hope that company can get their booking straight to deliver such a thing. Cody Rhodes is on the fast track in WWE to do big things. I’m hopeful that his family name doesn’t lead Vince McMahon to repeatedly push Cody and then hold him back from scoring the top prize. Will 2013 be the year for Cody? Time will tell, and while size is not necessarily on his side with upper management loving the bigger guys, his talent speaks for itself.

Breakout Wrestler:
Thunder and Lightning: Michael Elgin(ROH), Austin Aries(TNA), Dolph Ziggler(WWE) – Elgin had amazing matches in ROH this year that were topped by his matches with Davey Richards and his main event against Kevin Steen at Glory By Honor. Aries became one of the biggest names in TNA by having fantastic matches on a consistent basis that were highlighted by his victory over Samoa Joe at Slammiversary and his World Title win over Bobby Roode at Destination X. Dolph Ziggler shined against CM Punk in January, put his body on the line in the Elimination Chamber, had a solid match against Sheamus at No Way Out for the World Title, reinvented the term money in the bank in July as the standout in the ladder match, had a classic with Chris Jericho to kick off Summerslam, and had arguably one of the best pure wrestling matches of 2012 with Randy Orton at Night Of Champions. These guys definitely “broke out.”

Tag Team of the Year:
Lightning: WGTT(ROH), Daniels/Kazarian(TNA), Team Hell No(WWE)…..Overall Winner: Team Hell No
Thunder: Briscoes(ROH), Daniels/Kaz(TNA), Team Rhodes Scholars(WWE), Overall Winner: Team Rhodes Scholars

Best Gimmick:
Lightning: Bobby Roode
Thunder: Daniel Bryan

Worst Gimmick:
Lightning: John Cena
Thunder: Brodus Clay

Newcomer of the Year:
Lightning: Antonio Cesaro
Thunder: Damien Sandow

Biggest Disappointment:
Lightning: Cody Rhodes not competing for the World Title
Thunder: Christian repeatedly getting injured

Biggest Surprise:
Lightning: Sheamus winning the Royal Rumble
Thunder: John Cena defeating Brock Lesnar(after losing to the Rock at WrestleMania)

Worst Storyline:
Lightning: Claire/AJ Styles
Thunder: Hornswoggle revealed as the anonymous GM

Best Storyline:
Lightning: CM Punk/Chris Jericho
Thunder: Santino/Rocky vignettes and nearly winning the Elimination Chamber

Comeback of the Year:
Lightning: Chris Jericho,
Thunder: Alberto Del Rio

Best Mic Worker:
Lightning: Kevin Steen(ROH), Austin Aries(TNA), CM Punk(WWE)
Thunder: Kevin Steen(ROH), Bobby Roode(TNA), John Cena(WWE)

Most Valuable:
Thunder and Lightning: Kevin Steen(ROH), Bobby Roode(TNA), John Cena(WWE)

Overrated Wrestler:
Thunder and Lightning: Mike Bennett(ROH), Jeff Hardy(TNA), Brodus Clay(WWE)

Overhyped Wrestler:
Thunder and Lightning: Kyle O’Reilly(ROH), Chavo Guerrero(TNA), Ryback(WWE)

Underrated Wrestler:
Lightning: Caprice Coleman(ROH), Kazarian(TNA), Michael McGillicutty
Thunder: Adam Cole(ROH), Matt Morgan(TNA), Kofi Kingston(WWE)

Under-Utilized Wrestler:
Lightning: Jay Lethal(ROH), Christopher Daniels(TNA), Tyson Kidd(WWE)
Thunder: Jay Lethal(ROH), AJ Styles(TNA), R-Truth(WWE)

Most Promise for 2013:
Lightning: QT Marshall(ROH), Kenny King(TNA), Damien Sandow(WWE)
Thunder: Adam Cole(ROH), Joey Ryan(TNA), The Shield(WWE)

Pointless Move of the Year:
Lightning: Adding the stipulation for the tag team tourney for S.C.U.M.(ROH), Jeff Hardy winning the Bound For Glory Series(TNA), John Cena losing to The Rock at WM 28(WWE)
Thunder: El Generico challenging for the World Title in Ladder War IV(ROH), promoting the X-Division in early July and then abandoning it(TNA), WM 28 opening match(WWE).

Fail of the Year:
Thunder and Lightning: All-Night Express wins the ROH Tag Titles; Kenny King leaves(ROH), The AJ Styles/Claire/Dixie Carter Storyline(TNA), Trying to bury Daniel Bryan at WM 28 only to have it backfire(WWE)

Match of the Year:
Lightning: Michael Elgin vs Davey Richards from Showdown in the Sun Day 2(ROH), Bobby Roode vs. James Storm from Lockdown 2012(TNA), Undertaker vs. Triple H Hell in a Cell Match from WrestleMania 28(WWE)
Thunder: Same(ROH, Same(TNA), Daniel Bryan vs CM Punk from Over the Limit 2012(WWE)

Fan Favorite of the Year:
Thunder and Lightning: Daniel Bryan(WWE), Jeff Hardy(TNA), Kevin Steen(ROH)

Best Non-Title and non-gimmick ppv match:
Thunder and Lightning: Randy Orton vs Dolph Ziggler NoC 2012(WWE)

Funniest Moment Of The Year:
Thunder and Lightning: Kane’s explanation/reflection of his character in group therapy

Best PPV Main Event(Final Match on the Card) of 2012:
Thunder and Lightning: John Cena vs CM Punk at Night of Champions 2012

Failed Potential Award:
Thunder and Lightning: Zack Ryder

Wrestler of the Year:
Thunder and Lightning: Kevin Steen(ROH), Bobby Roode(TNA) and CM Punk(WWE)….Overall winner: Bobby Roode

^Roode has been TNA’s most valuable asset, and their best performer in 2012. Without him, I really don’t think I would continue watching TNA every week.

When you look back on 2012 as compared to 2011, The Royal Rumble, Elimination Chamber, and WrestleMania 28 blew 2011 and WrestleMania 27 out of the water. Extreme Rules and Over the Limit in 2012 were packed full of gems for matches whereas 2011 was boring; the trend continued for WWE through the end of the year. TNA had Bobby Roode as Champion(it’s really the best compliment I can give them) but ALSO, they’ve got a hot roster full of talent as 2012 ends. TNA just needs to script the shows better and deliver the product to match all that contracted talent. ROH continues to develop talent and deliver solid ppv cards, but they clearly still need a national tv deal to get more attention. Despite TNA and ROH needing improvement, pro wrestling had a fantastic year in 2012 and we are extremely optimistic for what’s to come in 2013!

We hope you enjoyed what we came up with and we hope you all have a very safe and happy new year! As always, feel free to share your thoughts below! ThunderStruck will be back in its regular form next week. Thanks for reading! – add me

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