Pro Wrestling Post Awards 2020 | Part I

Welcome one and all to the first-ever Pro Wrestling Post Awards 2020…or The Posties 2020, if you will. While the world as a whole has ground to a halt, the wrestling industry has continued to excite and thrill us fans across the world. And what better way to commemorate these hard-working performers than to acknowledge their hard work this year with these awards.

The awards categories of Best Male, Female, Tag Team and Moment of the Year have been decided by the columnists that have covered the promotion in question for the last year.  So sit back, relax, and prepare to agree (or disagree) with our choices. These are the inaugural winners of the Pro Wrestling Post Awards 2020! And in this first part, we look at the Female and Tag Team performers of the year…Enjoy!

Raw Female Performer of the Year
Asuka

Photo/wwe.com

Mark Blake In what has been quite a tumultuous year for the WWE Women’s division, I plumped for the current Raw Women’s Champion, Asuka. To be fair I could have chosen from three others but I chose Asuka as she has been consistently consistent since arriving on the brand last April.

Ok, yes she was technically handed the championship by outgoing champion Becky Lynch, but since that moment she has been the champion that Raw has deserved. Becoming the second-ever Grand Slam, Asuka hasn’t rested on her laurels. Taking on double duty by wrestling both Bayley and Sasha Banks at SummerSlam was a huge achievement and validation from Uncle Vince and others.

Kicking on from there she has defended the title on numerous occasions against many different opponents. Using her spotlight to help shine others lower down the card. Exactly what a champion should do. And following on from this month’s TLC PPV, Asuka made history once more. By becoming the first woman in WWE history to hold the Women’s Tag Team Championships with two different partners, as she and Charlotte Flair defeated Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler.

A history-making year for my choice of Raw Best Female!

Pro Wrestling Post Awards 2020
IMPACT Female Performer of the Year
Deonna Purrazzo

Deonna Purrazzo discusses vindication
Photo / Mandatory / IMPACT Wrestling

Pete Moon A sign of the incoming wave of ex-WWE talent, Deonna Purrazzo set the bar pretty high when she debuted in June. Debuting her Virtuosa persona, Purrazzo burst into IMPACT Wrestling by attacking then-Knockouts Champion Jordynne Grace. One month later, at Slammiversary, The Virtuosa would defeat Grace by submission for the championship. At Emergence: Night 2 in August, she displayed her killer instinct. Blasting Grace with the belt in their 30-minute Ironman rematch.

Since then, Purrazzo has become one of the best heels in the industry, showing shades of Triple H. While she boasts technical acumen, she captured the championship through guile and cunning rather than skill. On top of that, she’s spent much of her time as champion trying to sabotage her challengers. She forged a partnership with Kimber Lee out of the need to put Kylie Rae out of the picture. Unfortunately, life imitates art, and Rae and has since left the wrestling industry. This left IMPACT Wrestling to pull the trigger on Susie’s transformation back into Su Yung earlier than they ought to have. In the aftermath, however, Purrazzo has entered a new storyline with IMPACT Wrestling executive Scott D’Amore. The chemistry between those two is phenomenal, and their interactions are often the most entertaining non-wrestling segments on the show.

AEW Female Performer Of The Year
Britt Baker

Photo/sescoops.com
Brandon Lasher I have to be honest, the AEW Women’s Division has had a really rough year. The division usually would have a series of squash matches on AEW Dark or one short showcase per week on AEW Dynamite. It was hard to build any momentum for the relatively inexperienced female roster. When you add in injuries and talent trapped overseas by the Pandemic, it was a hard time for any Women’s Division talent to shine in 2020.
 
Britt Baker was the lone breakout star of the AEW Women’s Division. In January, she turned full heel, developing a great heel persona. Her character work with her long-suffering assistant Rebel and her “best friend” Tony Schiavone has been some of the funniest in 2020. While injuries derailed her from time to time this year, she still has had some wonderful matches in 2020 against Hikaru Shida and also winning a majority of her matches in recent months. It seems only a matter of time until our favorite dentist wins the AEW Women’s Championship in 2021.

Pro Wrestling Post Awards 2020
NXT Female Performer Of The Year

Rhea Ripley

Rhea Ripley
Photo / CBSSports

John Caul What can you not say that has been said about ‘The Nightmare’? One of the pillars of the NXT’s women’s division, the Aussie superstar has made it well known. She is a star in the making once she leaves the black and gold brand. But while she’s here, Ripley will continue to make waves as one of the features of the brand since winning the women’s championship back in 2019

But it’s not just about winning the title. It’s about how she remained in the conversation throughout the year. From her impressive match against women’s wrestling standard-bearer, Charlotte Flair, at Wrestlemania. To her ability to make other superstars better. Including Raquel Gonzales, Dakota Kai, and her repeated showings against Io Shirai. ‘The Nightmare’ continues to prove why she is ‘the man’ in NXT (pun intended). Outside of Balor, Ripley could even be NXT Superstar of the Year. But for the Posties, I think she will be ok with being Best Female Wrestler for the 2020 Pro Wrestling Post Awards. 

SmackDown Female Performer of the Year
Bayley

Pro Wrestling Post Awards 2020
Bayley / Photo wwe.com

Ian Abugov The year, for me, belonged to the Golden Role Models – Sasha Banks and Bayley. While we close 2020 with The Boss as the reigning titleholder, Bayley gets the nod as the Female Performer of the Year. She did hold the singles title for the lion’s share of the year and was even Bayley Dos Straps for quite a stretch as well. She was a tireless worker and was omnipresent on all three broadcasts. While being obnoxious and entertaining on the mic and in doing color commentary. Her feud with Sasha was wonderfully set out. We knew a fissure was inevitable but the when and the how had us tuning in with great anticipation.

Banks was the perfect foil for Bayley. She played her role masterfully allowing our friend from San José to be a heel heat magnet. Life can be unforgiving when your closest friend is a black metal folding chair. Fast-forwarding through 2021, look for Bianca Belair to gain more and more prominence.

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Pro Wrestling Post Awards 2020
All Elite Wrestling Tag Team Of The Year

The Young Bucks

Pro Wrestling Post Awards 2020
Photo/@AEW

Brandon Lasher The tag team division is clearly the strength of All Elite Wrestling. Tag Team matches are the majority of matches you will see on AEW Dynamite weekly. These matches are always exciting and we have had a lot of really great and truly memorable matches in 2020. There is truly no storage of great tag team wrestling in All Elite and it doesn’t show signs of stopping in 2021.

My choice for the AEW tag team of the year is The Young Bucks. You are always going to have an entertaining match from The Young Bucks in All Elite Wrestling. They had arguably the match of the year at AEW Revolution against Omega & Page. They were a part of the entertaining AEW Stadium Stampede at AEW Double or Nothing. At that point, they began a long feud with long-time rivals FTR. It finally led to a long-awaited tag team match with FTR at AEW Full Gear. In one of the better matches of 2020, they finally won the AEW Tag Team Championship. What will 2021 bring for the amazing AEW Tag Team division?

Raw Tag Team Of The Year
The Street Profits

Pro Wrestling Post Awards 2020
Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford showing off their Raw Tag Team Championships – Photo/insidesport.co

Mark Blake In an unprecedented move, a team called up from NXT has taken this award. The Street Profits, were by far the best team on Raw this year. From the moment they arrived, they have been a fresh of breath air on the show. Coming off the back of a great run in NXT, we all feared the worst once Uncle Vince called them up to the “big leagues”. And you know what, we were all wrong.

Bringing Bianca Belair along for the ride was also a masterstroke. She has been used sparingly and in the right way. Not shoved down our throats or taking away the spotlight from the boys that bring the smoke. Bringing to the fore her marriage to Montez Ford, showing the world another wrestling couple in the vein of Daniel Bryan & Brie Bella and The Miz & Maryse. Could a reality series be on the cards?

Getting back on track, Ford and Dawkins have had a standout year. From defending their Raw Tag Team titles at WrestleMania 36 and SummerSlam to being drafted over to SmackDown this past October, The Profits have not looked back. They have cemented themselves as one of, if not, the top tag team in the company. And all in the space of fewer than 18 months. As I mentioned about my RAW Superstar of the Year, this year really has been the year of the Profits. And long may we sip from their red Solo cup!

Pro Wrestling Post Awards 2020
IMPACT Wrestling Tag Team Of The Year

The Rascalz

Pro Wrestling Post Awards 2020
Photo/@IMPACTWRESTLING

Pete Moon Though it breaks my heart that I’m not giving this award to The North, I couldn’t do so in good conscience. Ethan Page and Josh Alexander are extremely talented, they’re local boys here in Hamilton, and they have a record 380 days as IMPACT Tag Team Champions. However, most of that time comes from the lockdown in Canada during the early days of the COVID-19 Pandemic. As The North could not be in Skyway Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, they could not wrestle the other members of the IMPACT Wrestling tag team division.

Instead, the award should go to the tag team who impressed in every outing. No team has amazed me as consistently as Dez, Wentz, & Trey Miguel of The Rascalz. Every time I saw The Rascalz in-ring, they did something new and unique. Their innovative mix of strikes and aerial technique is a joy to behold. But more importantly, their farewell match with Rich Swann moved me in a way no other wrestling match has this year. We here at Pro Wrestling post wish Dez & Wentz well in WWE, along with Trey Miguel on the Indies. But as I said when they left IMPACT in October: I’m gonna miss those Rascalz.

NXT Tag Team Of The Year
Undisputed Era/ Imperium

Pro Wrestling Post Awards 2020
Photo/wwe.com
John Caul If there is a separate NXT Hall of Fame, we have to be honest, the members of the Undisputed Era would be considered first ballot. But more specifically Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish have been the bar in NXT. You set them up, The Undisputed Era has knocked them down. And even when they aren’t giving the business to Breezango, or whatever team William Regal lines up, they’re establishing themselves as solo superstars (see Takeover 31)
 
But if it wasn’t UE, Imperium definitely have left their own mark on the brand. Specifically the team of Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel. They have turned their impressive Midnight Express-esque fighting style from the UK brand to the American edition. And have gone from two very unknown superstars on television to two of the most dominant superstars on the black and gold brand
 
When UE wasn’t holding the tag gold, Imperium were the kings of tag team wrestling. And even with neither of these teams currently holding NXT Tag Team Championships, at any moment the titles can easily be in either team’s possession again. This was a close race. But ultimately both Undisputed Era and Imperium are the epitome of NXT tag team wrestling. And both should share the title as Best Tag Team for the 2020 Pro Wrestling Post Awards. 

Pro Wrestling Post Awards 2020
SmackDown Tag Team of the Year
The Miz & John Morrison

Pro Wrestling Post Awards 2020
The Miz & John Morrison / Photo wwe.com

Ian Abugov The Smackdown tag team division was underwhelming in 2020. No team emerged as dominant or even highly entertaining. The talent was there, but the best use of them was as absent as bacon in a Kosher supermarket. Some of the most notable teams performing on Friday’s grandest stage were: Lucha House Party, Robert Roode & Dolph Ziggler, The New Day, The Forgotten Sons (who soon became the Abandoned Sons), The Usos, The Street Profits and, the Miz and John Morrison. Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro did lay claim to the championship over a several month period but did not dazzle or shine as a team. It was the classic case of two excellent wrestlers forming a decent team while not a powerhouse. They were at their best as the Artist Collective with all the energy being pumped in Sami Zayn.

I would give the team of the year honors to John Morrison and The Miz. Their body of work was varied and they did everything the WWE wanted them to do. They had mic segments and were involved in plot lines weekly. They had no issues putting over younger talent and were a strong source of comic relief on a show that desperately needed some. While a lot of the material was worthy of grade nine gym class, my main gripe lies with the fact that two talents were definitely underused. Morrison is an elite level talent with a comprehensive and solid moveset. But only got to show flashes of his acumen over the past year. Morrison would seemingly be allotted two spots to shine in every match but not enough sustained chain offense.

The Miz & Morrison won the tag titles from The New Day at Super Showdown on February 27th. They defended with success both at the Elimination Chamber and at Wrestlemania before losing the straps on the April 17th edition of Smackdown. The New Day had a decent championship run but also had key members sidelined with various injuries. All things considered, The New Day basically trod water in 2020. Next year can very well belong to the Street Profits though. Plenty of red plastic party cups to be raised in tribute to current champions, DeAngelo Hawkins and the high flying Montez Ford.

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That draws to a close the first part of our awards. They’re so big that we’ve had to spread them over two pieces! And the second part, containing Best Male performer and Moment of the Year, will be winging it’s way to you tomorrow. Keep your eyes peeled!

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