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The 411 Wrestling Year-End Awards: Part Ten – The Most Overrated Performers of 2016

January 11, 2017 | Posted by Larry Csonka

Welcome back to the Wrestling Top 5, year-end awards edition! What we are going to is take a topic, and all the writers here on 411 will have the ability to give us their Top 5 on said topic, and the end, based on where all of these topics rank on people’s list, we will create an overall Top 5 list. It looks a little like this…

1st – 5
2nd – 4
3rd – 3
4th – 2
5th – 1

It’s similar to how we do the WOTW voting. At the end we tally the scores and get our overall top 5! It’s highly non-official and final, like WWE’s old power rankings. From some of the best and worst, the 411 staff is ready to break down the awards! Thanks for joining us, and lets get down to work.

The 411 Wrestling Year-End Awards: Part Ten – The Most Overrated Performers of 2016

(The wrestler who gets the biggest push, despite lacking ring ability or charisma.)

Rob Stewart
5. The Authors of Pain
4. Rhyno
3. Baron Corbin
2. Roman Reigns

1. Goldberg – Hold on, just bear with me. At least hear my reasoning here. So this is less about “who is cheered/supported more than they might deserve” and more about a general determination: “Who is pushed the hardest despite a lack of deserving that push”. Which is a much harder way to review, because it doesn’t necessarily mean I think anyone I listed is a waste; just that they are being used in a matter that would befit someone else instead. With that said, Goldberg seemed fitting here. Not that I don’t like him, and not that I am not intrigued as to where his third wind in his career carries him, but just in the terms of… He’s 50 years old, hasn’t been in a WWE ring in over a decade, and immediately returned to main event a Big Four show where he HUMILIATED a guy who’d been devastatingly unstoppable for two+ years. Yes, it’s exciting. Yes, it’s interesting. Yes, it was a “Holy crap!” moment. But wouldn’t it be those things that if anyone did that to Brock? So for a WWE perpetually keeping its eye to the past rather than the future, I’ll throw Goldberg here and hope he never reads this and finds out where I live.

5. The New Day
4. Dolph Ziggler
3. Dean Ambrose
2. Heath Slater/Rhyno

1. James Ellsworth – I don’t get it. I didn’t get it when he was beat by Braun Strowman back in the summer and wrote nothing about it in my review, barely even noticing the guy at all. I didn’t get it when he randomly popped back up on Smackdown. I didn’t get it when he started mixing it up in the main event. I didn’t get it when he beat AJ Styles (with help from Dean Ambrose or not). I didn’t get it when he was the focal point of the show for months at a time. I didn’t get it when he was a freakin’ mascot in a supposedly important Survivor Series brand battle. I didn’t even get the ‘heel turn’ at TLC, much less him earning a contract to WWE as ratings continued to tank for Smackdown with him overstaying his welcome in the top feud. I just didn’t get it. He was Colin Delaney 2016 (Google that nonsense), and thankfully, WWE put a merciful ending to this all last week when AJ Styles destroyed him once and for all. Have fun getting humiliated by Carmella and doing whatever it is you do.

Jake Chambers
5. Michael Bennett
4. Anderson & Gallows
3. Adam Cole
2. Dolph Ziggler

1. Sasha Banks – Show don’t tell. That’s the motto of Creative Writing workshops worldwide. In 2016 we were constantly “told” that Sasha Banks was great without seeing much evidence of her deserving such status. Going into Wrestlemania, it seemed to me that Becky Lynch was the worker who could win over a crowd, and yet Sasha was shoe-horned into their Triple Threat against Charlotte. I’ll say that Banks’ NXT stuff was good, her cocky character was cool and played well into her match strategy. But on the big stage, the only thing that stands out about her is that giant mane of hot pink hair. She’s a bore on the mic, she looks like she’d lose an arm-wrestling match to AJ Lee, and put her in a match not involving Charlotte and it’s a shit show.

Mike Hammerlock
5. Roman Reigns
4. Timothy Thatcher
3. Alexa Bliss
2. Dean Ambrose

1. Brock Lesnar – Much as I think Lesnar is a once-in-a-lifetime performer, his 2016 was complete shit. All right, that’s severe. His Fastlane match against Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose was a perfectly edible chunk of meat, surrounded by complete shit. Then toss in having his UFC 200 match declared a no-contest because he failed a drug test. I take a dim view of guys who roid up for real fights. You’re fucking with someone else’s health when you do that. With one exception, if you bought a ticket to see Brock Lesnar in 2016, you wasted your money.

Jack McGee
5. Timothy Thatcher
4. James Ellsworth
3. Michael Bennett
2. Dean Ambrose

1. Brock Lesnar – Brock Lesnar was a colossal waste of time and money in 2016, his matches weren’t good, he didn’t help get anyone over, he made no significant box office moves; he’s a guy that stands there, hops around, suplexes people and largely adds nothing to the product. He feels way past his expiration date in terms of the amount of fucks I can muster up when he appears. They could do much better than the money they spend on Lesnar.

Chad Perry
5. Drew Galloway
4. Timothy Thatcher
3. Dean Ambrose
2. Enzo Amore

1. Bray Wyatt – It was honestly a toss up for the top spot between Wyatt and Ambrose. Both guys have characters that have been so played out and are now just parodies of themselves. Ambrose didn’t get the spot though based on some very good matches with Styles. Wyatt has been more interesting in the last two months with the Orton relationship than he had been in ages, but that still doesn’t make his in ring work any better. Wyatt has never done a lot for me in the ring, he is just a great talker. However, even his talking has grown stale and WWE’s stop/go pushing of him makes it even harder to invest in the character. I do see potential in Bray at some point, but for the time being he has not lived up to the potential he starting showing years ago in NXT.

Kevin Pantoja
5. Kenny Omega
4. Noam Dar
3. Charlotte
2. The Young Bucks

1. Kazuchika Okada – I can’t think of many positive things to say about the Young Bucks and Noam Dar, but I want to say that the other three people on this list are very good. Don’t take them making it here as me saying they suck. They don’t. They are overrated in my mind though. Kazuchika Okada is a damn good wrestler, but I’ve seen people act like he’s the greatest of all time. Dave Meltzer spent two straight days on Twitter telling everyone that Okada was the best. Someone compared Okada to Randy Orton, which caused Dave to say that the difference between them is equal to that of Shawn Michaels and Brad Armstrong. Come on. Okada isn’t the best wrestler in NJPW, he honestly isn’t even top five in my eyes. He gets shoved down the throats of fans in a way that if the WWE did it (and I know things are different in Japan, but still), they would get flamed for it. An Okada match usually features nothing of real note for the first third to the first half and then a great finish. Okada is the kind of performer that I think needs someone great with him to deliver greatness. When he faces someone in a match that he has to lead, like SANADA, it disappoints, while a guy like Tanahashi produced magic with the young LIDJ member. Look, Okada is really good and I get why he’s in his position, but I don’t believe he’s the all-time great that people make him out to be.

Larry Csonka
5. Moose
4. James Ellsworth
3. Dean Ambrose
2. Brock Lesnar

1. Mike Bennett – I guess I just don’t get the hype. I keep hearing that Mike Bennett is a “great heel any company would be lucky to have,” but I don’t see it at all. I watched his ROH run, I watched his NJPW run and watched his last year in TNA. Bennett, comes off to me like a solid, mid-card heel who is better suited as a tag worker. But he had a great match once upon a time, he got to go to Japan and that has seemingly been enough to make people thing he’s a top guy. Unfortunately, this is wrestling, and not everyone is destined to be a top guy, and I just feel that way about Bennett. I am sure he works very hard, but he’s had exactly one memorable match (in my opinion) in this last year and it happened last week.

AND 411’s Most Overrated Performers of 2016 ARE…

T5. Rhyno6 points

T5. Dolph Zigler6 points

T3. James Ellsworth9 points

T3. Mike Bennett9 points

2. Brock Lesnar14 points

1. Dean Ambrose17 points

* The Biggest Disappointment of The Year: The WWE Cruiserweight Division – 28 points
* The Best Non-Wrestler: Dario Cueto – 45 points
* The Best Tag Team of The Year: The Revival – 45 points
* The Worst PPV/Major Show of The Year: WrestleMania 32 – 23 points

* The Best Female Wrestler of The Year: Charlotte – 44 points
* The Best PPV/Major Show of The Year: NXT Takeover: Dallas – 27 points
* The Best Promotion of The Year: NJPW – 33 points
* Most Outstanding Performer 2016: Chris Hero – 27 points

* The Best Match of The Year: DIY vs. The Revival (From NXT Takeover Toronto) – 22 points
* Most Overrated Performer 2016: Dean Ambrose – 17 points
* Most Underrated Performer 2016: TO BE DETERMINED (JANUARY 12)
* The Best Wrestler of The Year: TO BE DETERMINED (JANUARY 13)