The 2014 Bobby James Awards: IMPACT Wrestling

Welcome to the first installment of the 2014 Bobby James Awards. It’s time again to start celebrating the best of the year – and for IMPACT Wrestling, there were a lot of great moments leading up to what should be an amazing 2015.

With IMPACT relocating to Destination America in January 2015, it’s time to reflect on the wrestlers and moments featured on one of Spike TV’s best shows. Here are the best of IMPACT:

Tag Team of the Year:

The Wolves (Eddie Edwards, Davey Richards)

The Wolves were far and away the single greatest tag team in all of pro wrestling this year. Reigning over TNA’s Tag Team Division twice, The Wolves unseated The BroMans (Jessie Godderz, Robbie E) in a Spring program to claim their first titles. The four participants were involved in high octane matches that really began to introduce these marvelous competitors to the world.

Then summer happened – and The Wolves propelled themselves to the No. 1 spot. They emerged victorious from a three-way feud with two of wrestling’s most iconic tag teams – The Hardys (Jeff and Matt) and Team 3D (Bully Ray and Devon). Their encounters were intense – and the innovation in their tag-team wrestling was unrivaled anywhere else.

The Wolves helped make IMPACT Wrestling the place to see incredible tag action – and through their innovative style and chemistry, they helped make IMPACT a destination for those of us who crave five-star matches with a bit of nostalgia.

Runners Up: Team 3D

X-Division Wrestler of the Year:

Low Ki

The exhilarating Low Ki returned to IMPACT Wrestling in 2014. Immediately, he set his sights on becoming the X-Division Champion once more. Upon his return, Low Ki was involved in a number of championship matches and tournaments, but ultimately lost out to Samoa Joe. An untimely injury would see Joe vacate the championship, resulting in a four-way match to determine a new champion – and finally, Low Ki emerged victorious.

Low Ki’s high-flying, smash-mouth style makes him one of the most exciting stars to watch in the ring – and the perfect representative of a division known for its daring action.

Runner Up: “The Great” Sanada

Moment of the Year:

Dixie Carter and “#ItHappens”

Bully Ray and Dixie Carter. Photo Credit: IMPACT Wrestling.
Bully Ray and Dixie Carter. Photo Credit: IMPACT Wrestling.

For months, TNA President Dixie Carter tormented the IMPACT Wrestling roster and fans, most notably TNA Hall of Famer Bully Ray. Bully vowed to exact his revenge in a way only a member of Team 3D knows how – by putting Dixie Carter through a table! Carter surrounded herself with brawn (namely Ethan Carter III, Rhino and MMA star King Mo) while continuing to stoke the flames and always managing to slip just out of Bully’s reach.

That changed on the IMPACT dated August 7, when Dixie Carter was powerbombed from the turnbuckle through a table! A locker room and the fans rejoiced!

Runner Up: Gail Kim’s chair shot to the face (Feb. 20)

Rookie of the Year:

The Wolves (Eddie Edwards, Davey Richards)

The Wolves. Photo Credit: IMPACT Wrestling.
The Wolves. Photo Credit: IMPACT Wrestling.

The Wolves were the preeminent stars of IMPACT Wrestling in 2014 – there’s no doubt about it, which is incredible considering that they debuted just this year (alongside Samoa Joe in a winning effort against The BroMans). Early in their run, Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards offered an exciting glimpse of what was to come – and not only have they delivered, they’ve shown individual abilities that could be very exciting for the X-Division. Time will tell, but for now, “Let the hunt begin.”

Runner Up: Havok

Non-Wrestling Personality of the Year:

Dixie Carter

Dixie Carter (center). Photo Credit: IMPACT Wrestling.
Dixie Carter (center). Photo Credit: IMPACT Wrestling.

Despite her four-month absence, there can be no question that “Queen,” “Madam” Dixie Carter is the non-wrestling personality of the year. The sweet, twang-infused voice of the villainous TNA President was only rivaled by the suits of Rockstar Spud, her assistant for a solid portion of the year. Through the year, Carter abused her power in feuds and encounters with the likes of AJ Styles, Bully Ray and even MVP – until that memorable table spot sent her packing from the airwaves.

Did I mention the return of the 6-sided ring though? Dixie Carter also had something to do with that!

Runner Up: Rockstar Spud

Feud of the Year:

Dixie Carter vs. Bully Ray

Dixie Carter. IMPACT Wrestling, 2014.
Dixie Carter. IMPACT Wrestling, 2014.

Just the idea of an employee taking on the boss makes people salivate. Factor in the employee being one of the greatest tag team wrestlers in the world and a former World Champion, and it becomes a full-on drool. Dixie Carter and her collection of muscle tormented Bully Ray for months. She threatened his job and had him attacked (verbally and physically) at every turn.

This year, Carter was a tyrant – and Bully Ray was the rebellion. Fans craved that moment, when the name “Dixie Carter” would be added to the star-studded list of women that have been sent crashing through a table. The feud came to a head on the August 7 episode of IMPACT, which was followed by reports that Dixie Carter had suffered a broken back.

Fun-Fact: This is the second consecutive year that Dixie Carter has been part of the “Feud of the Year.”

Runner Up: The Wolves vs. Team 3D vs. The Hardys

Match of the Year:

Tag Team Championship Series – Match #3: Full Metal Mayhem

The Wolves (c) vs. The Hardys vs. Team 3D

Full Metal Mayhem, October 8. Photo Credit: IMPACT Wrestling.
Full Metal Mayhem, October 8. Photo Credit: IMPACT Wrestling.

On the October 8 edition of IMPACT Wrestling, the Tag Team Title Series came to an epic conclusion. The Wolves, The Hardys and Team 3D met in a “Full Metal Mayhem” match to determine who would leave the arena as champions. The match was filled with incredible action and plenty of “holy shit” moments including: Jeff Hardy crashing through a table from the top turnbuckle, Eddie Edwards falling outside the ring from the top of a ladder, Matt Hardy driving Davey Richards through a table with a leg drop from a ladder, Devon being sent through two tables (after competing with a groin tear!), and Eddie Edwards powerbombing Matt Hardy from the ladder as Davey Richards secured the win!

…and who could forget that powerbomb Bully Ray gave Davey Richards onto the guardrail bridge!?

This match was one of four by these teams that could have easily been named “Match of the Year,” but what made this special was the symbolic passing of the torch. As Team 3D entered the TNA Hall of Fame, The Wolves reinvigorated interest in tag team wrestling through this epic feud. Their win was just that much sweeter.

Runner Up: Knockout’s Championship: Havok (c) vs. Gail Kim (IMPACT, Nov. 5)

The “Queen Dixie” Mic. Award:

Dixie “Fires” the Fans!

Dixie Carter "fires" the fans. IMPACT Wrestling. 2014.
Dixie Carter “fires” the fans. IMPACT Wrestling. 2014.

Dixie Carter went from being a lukewarm villain to being one of the most despised people in all of professional wrestling. This promo is one of the many reasons why, here’s what she said that earned her a Bobby James Award:

“[To the fans] Would you people shut up? [Fires Snitsky and Ryklon] … you’re all fired, too! Get the hell out of my building! [To a female fan] Pick your purse up lady and get out of here! [To everyone] GET OUT OF MY BUILDING! Pick your shit up and get out of here!” – Dixie Carter, IMPACT (Aug. 7)

By the time Dixie Carter had said this, she’d rid IMPACT Wrestling of homegrown star AJ Styles and was embroiled in a feud against Bully Ray and the fans. This was one of her most impassioned moments and most intense reactions to the people – then she went through a table!

Runner Up: “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your champion speaking. Please return your women to their full, upright positions.” -Magnus, IMPACT (Jan. 3)

Knockout of the Year:

Gail Kim

Since debuting in the major promotions, Gail Kim has evolved to become one of the most respected women’s wrestlers in the world. She consistently delivers exceptional in-ring work – and those efforts saw her carry the Knockout’s Championship into this year. After losing the title this past spring, she reclaimed the gold, her fourth reign, and embarked on a memorable feud against a ruthless newcomer named Havok.

The intense battles have reminded fans of the title’s inaugural days when Gail battled the likes of Awesome Kong. Havok is equally as imposing, meaning that the ultra talented Knockout has to keep innovating and evolving – and she’s done just that. Last year’s “Wrestler of the Year” once again reigns supreme over the Knockouts division.

Fun-Fact: This is Gail Kim’s sixth Bobby James Award (fifth for her work in TNA, one for WWE), visit the history page to see them all!

Runner Up: Havok

Wrestler of the Year:

Ethan Carter III

While Ethan Carter III, the nephew of President Dixie Carter, has tasted mild defeat, it’s worth noting that he’s technically undefeated since his rookie beginning in TNA on October 20, 2013. That’s quite the run when considering a list of adversaries that includes “The Icon” Sting, Kurt Angle, Bully Ray, Tommy Dreamer and Rhino. His encounters with each have ranged in ferocity and some have been all-out bloody mat wars.

Carter spent time alongside Dixie Carter, leading to some intense moments and engaged in a feud with Rockstar Spud that could threaten his streak. Additionally, he’s a complete and engaging character! He’s got the look, the charisma and in-ring ability to “be the man,” despite the “You can’t wrestle” dissention from the fans. His matches and feuds have elicited great crowd reactions and involvement, despite him never having captured TNA gold (yet).

I would venture to say it’s only a matter of time before EC3’s reigning over IMPACT as the TNA World Heavyweight Champion (but a torn bicep might delay the start of that).

Fun-Fact: EC3 was recognized as “Rookie of the Year” last year!

 Runner Up: Bully Ray

Did I get it right? Let me know in the comments below.