What an incredible year for IMPACT Wrestling, right? Early this year, president Dixie Carter announced that Impact Wrestling would be taken on the road, permanently – but it seems some ill-advice or high-cost is sending the world’s second largest wrestling promotion back to Orlando – and some of its biggest names are departing. Regardless, Impact Wrestling has produced some quality entertainment, and even in an ailing climate, there are still stars and moments that shine. Here are the Best of 2013:
Tag Team of the Year: The BroMans (Jessie Godderz/Robbie E.)
The BroMans spent most of the year being Impact’s jobber team despite being the most charismatic and entertaining tag team in all of Impact Wrestling. Despite their mostly horrible year (made up of squash matches and quick finishes), Jessie and Robbie delivered on their promise and captured the Tag Team Championships in late October.
Runner Up: James Storm and Gunner
Feud of the Year: AJ Styles vs. Dixie Carter
I still can’t believe how intense the segments between AJ Styles and Dixie Carter were over the last few months. At times, it seemed like the Impact president and Impact’s biggest star were at legitimate odds as their drama and tension unfolded before live and national audiences. Who could forget the abusive tirade Dixie Carter went on during Impact (September 19) against Styles – in which she referred to one of the best working wrestlers as “marginal.”
Runner Up: Gail Kim vs. Taryn Terrell
Moment of the Year: Gail Kim’s Figure Four Leg Lock on a Ladder
Gail Kim and Taryn Terrell had one of the most talked about rivalries in all of wrestling during the summer. In fact, their confrontations were so incredible that some could say the world’s largest wrestling promotion (WWE) took note because booking for other women’s divisions have soared – women are a draw! Who could ever forget the moment Gail Kim applied a figure four leg lock to Taryn Terrell during their hyped ladder match (July 11)? It looks intensely painful – and I can honestly say, it’s something I’ve never seen done before (in mainstream wrestling – correct me if I’m wrong, please).
Runner Up: The Carter-Styles Confrontation (Impact 9/19)
Rookie of the Year: Ethan Carter III
Ethan Carter III (formerly Derrick Bateman from WWE/NXT) debuted with the moniker “EC3″ and as the spoiled nephew of Impact Wrestling president Dixie Carter. He’s racked up a series of victories (in singles and 2-on-1 handicapped action) and has laid out a challenge to the World Champion, AJ Styles. His character isn’t necessarily fresh – nor is the “spoiled” character new, but the way Ethan Carter III owns it makes it great – and makes him the most exciting new star to break into Impact in 2013.
Runner Up: Lei’D Tapa
Match of the Year: Last Knockout Standing: Gail Kim vs. Taryn Terrell (Slammiversary, 6/2)
The historic “Last Knockout Standing” match was incredible. Full of “spots,” it’s one of the most important matches in Impact Wrestling since they added a women’s division in 2007 – and probably one of the most important mainstream women’s wrestling matches in the last decade. Gail Kim took a flying chair shot, locked in a figure four leg lock on the ring post (Terrell returned the favor soon after), a failed suicide dive by Terrell, and a match winning, diving “RKO” off the stage onto the ground (from Terrell to Kim) – drawing loud “holy shit…this is awesome” chants from the Boston audience.
Runner Up: Full Metal Mayhem: Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Sabin (Impact, 11/7)
X-Division Wrestler of the Year: Chris Sabin
Sabin finally broke through and captured the World Championship this year, but his glory at the top of Impact Wrestling was short lived. Soon after dropping the title, he underwent a heel turn and re-entered the X-Division against then champion Manik. Sabin put on great matches and reclaimed the X-Division Championship in the process.
Runner Up: Manik
Knockout of the Year: Mickie James
Mickie James is one of the world’s most respected female competitors. This year, Mickie duped the fans and finally became the heel we all loved to hate. Along the way, she reclaimed the Knockout’s Championship and had the audience in a tizzy every time she took a microphone. Wasn’t her snobby-country gimmick fun? Mickie toyed with many of her challengers – showing just how out of place competitors like Velvet Sky were while in the ring with Mickie James. Unfortunately, Mickie was one of the many stars to depart Impact Wrestling this year – but her reign, and place in the Knockout’s Division didn’t go unnoticed.
Runner Up: Taryn Terrell
Non-Wrestling Personality of the Year: Dixie Carter
In an interesting turn of events, Impact Wrestling president Dixie Carter returned to television this year as a heel character. Her feud with AJ Styles is noteworthy, and her confrontations with Hulk Hogan were long overdue. She’s pampered her “nephew” Ethan Carter, disrespected the fans, and she’s introduced us to her ego – Impact is “Dixieland” – and should we forget the fate deciding “Wheel of Dixie?” (note: as good as she is, Dixie is no Stephanie McMahon).
Runner Up: Christ Hemme
Wrestler of the Year: Gail Kim
When you’re good – you’re good, and Gail Kim is damn good. Scratch that, she’s amazing. She knows how to work the crowd – and she knows how to be an innovative competitor. Sure, like everyone else, she has a “move set” she routinely performs, but her aerial skills, combined with her power moves and grappling/submission techniques and style make her untouchable by anyone else on the roster. She’s consistent in every match – and she’s been one of the most active competitors throughout the year. Did I mention her history-making matches and the innovation involved in either of them this year? I did. If that’s not all, she’s the reigning (and most defensive) Knockout’s Champion and has a valet/enforcer in rookie Lei’D Tapa. Right now, Gail Kim is on top of the world.
Runner Up: AJ Styles
There they are – the Bobby-james Awards for Best of Impact Wrestling 2013. Do you agree or disagree with my selections? Are there moments or performers that stood out to you? Post it in the comments and let’s have a chat.