The X-Factor: The 2023 wrestling awards

So, this was a busy news year huh?

2024 will be the first full year – we hope – that we won’t have to deal with Vince McMahon sticking his mitts into creative and ruining shows. Also, the first year without his chief lackey Kevin Dunn. 

To think there’s people who preferred Vince. 

Well then, before we can move forward, let’s look back at the best of 2023.

Match of the year

Winner: WrestleMania 39 

Tag Team Championship

Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens vs. The Usos (c)

I’m aware the more acclaimed contest was the Triple Threat on Night 2, but look at this match.

Months of buildup behind it, the Bloodline being red hot, Sami Zayn well loved by the masses, and the bout delivered. It was also the first time a tag title match headlined a ‘Mania, the first tag team main event since the first, and the first time for everyone except KO. Remember, the Usos spent the better part of the 2010s on the pre show.

With what happened the next night, we needed a happy ending. Speaking of…

Most shocking moment

Winner 1a: The story is not finished

“Why?” That’s what we asked ourselves when it was done. If it was a Triple H decision we would think he was an idiot. If it was Vince, we’d think “that figures.”

Will we look back and think it was for the best? They proceeded to slot Cody Rhodes into a feud with Brock Lesnar which if we’re being honest, was a good one. Roman Reigns will hit 1,317 days when WrestleMania XL’s Night 2 comes. 

To put it in perspective, many of you hated John Cena. He returns last year and sells out arenas.

Winner 1b: “Cult of Personality” in Chicago

This can’t be a surprise. 

Let’s be grateful Triple H is pragmatic, knowing to strike while the iron is hot, and making sure TNA didn’t make get him first. Let’s hope there’s a behavior clause in the contract too. 

Now CM Punk could actually headline WrestleMania. 

Oh, and Seth Rollins isn’t one to judge given he’s gotten on the IWC’s bad side in the past.

Best heel of 2023

Winner: Dominik Mysterio

Again, this can’t be a surprise, and another reason to be grateful Vinnie Mac isn’t around to screw it up.

It says something he still gets drowned out, but it’ll get stale if they don’t change him up. Dominik needs to be more than Mami’s little bitch.

Best babyface

Winner: Cody Rhodes

Cody was the man who dared to tell Meltzer he could sell 10,000 tickets. He dared to wrestle a Hell in a Cell with a torn muscle. Need I go on?

He better finish the story in Philadelphia. How could he not? Reigns’ title reign needs to end this year.

Biggest news story

Winner: The Endeavor sale

Remember the dread when Vince McMahon strong-armed himself back in? We were afraid the Saudis or some other company with no clue about the business was gonna buy WWE. Lucky for us, Ari Emanuel isn’t some good ol’ boy – or is he – and sees him for the liability he is.

Doesn’t mean it won’t be a bad thing later. The worry they’ll revert to the old PPV model is still there.

Feud of the year

Winner: Rey Mysterio vs. Dominik Mysterio

Has any story gotten people’s blood boiling as much as this one? As a smart fan, you see how well Rey – and Eddie in spirit – taught him. As a mark, you were dying to see him get what’s coming to him.

I’ll tell you, Michael Cole has never sounded better.

Most underrated 

Winner: Chad Gable

If anyone deserved to beat Gunther for the Intercontinental title, it’s Gable. You can’t say he doesn’t deserve it. He suffered the indignity of being renamed “Shorty G”. Of course, that’s not all. Gable is a great talent in the ring. 

Best event

Winner: WrestleMania 39

Nothing can beat the feeling. Just the wait for this magnificent event really gets fans pumped. This is why we watch.

Female superstar of 2023

Winner: Rhea Ripley

Charlotte Flair couldn’t hold the emotion in. 

To say Ripley is one of the best things going today doesn’t do it justice. The ‘smug snake’ thing might be wearing thin, but what she’s done for the division and the Judgment Day can’t be overstated. 

What does bug me is she never got any direct payback for breaking up the Mysterio family. Perhaps it’s coming.

Male superstar of the year

Winner: Cody Rhodes

Could it be anyone else? It seems he can do no wrong, unless they mess it up and book The Rock vs. Reigns instead. Or Cody is made to challenge Seth Rollins. 

Like Drew and Bobby among others, Cody had to leave and make his name bigger elsewhere. It worked, and now he poised to leave Philly with Roman’s gold.

Well now. Here’s to 2023, and may 2024 be better.

And let’s not forget those that didn’t make it 2024, including Windham and Terry.

Don’t mess with the X.