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2000 R.S.P-W Awards

Most Improved Wrestler

Most Improved Wrestler                  

Award Description:

To be given to the wrestler who most improved himself/herself in all facets
of the sport in the past year.

Previous Winners:

  1990: Lex Luger
  1991: Ron Simmons
  1992: Steve Austin
  1993: Marcus Alexander Bagwell
  1994: Diesel
  1995: Johnny B. Badd
  1996: Wildman Marc Mero (Johnny B. Badd)
  1997: Ken Shamrock
  1998: The Rock
  1999: Hardcore Holly

**2000**: Triple H

561 first place votes
541 second place votes
522 third place votes

168 71 32 1117   Triple H
150 61 43 1019   Kurt Angle
 38 71 58  519   Rock
 17 28 22  213   Steve Blackman
 13 15 24  158   William Regal
 11 21 19  156   Rikishi
 13 13 23  150   Edge
  9 21 20  148   Kid Kash
 11 15 17  134   Hardcore Holly
 12 13 16  131   Steve Corino
  6 16 16  110   Lance Storm
  1 15 19   88   Lita
  4 13 13   85   Mike Sanders
  5  9 15   82   Shane McMahon
  9  7  6   78   Buh Buh Ray Dudley
  3  8 11   61   Christian
  6  6  5   58   Justin Credible
  3  9  8   58   Scotty 2 Hotty
  4  6  3   44   Undertaker
  3  5  7   44   Chris Benoit
  3  6  3   39   Steve Austin
  2  4  8   38   Big Vito
  0  6 10   38   Booker T.
  3  4  5   37   Crash
  5  3  1   36   Crowbar
  2  6  4   36   Val Venis
  1  4  8   33   Mikey Whipwreck
  3  3  4   32   Sean O'Haire
  1  5  6   32   Scott Steiner
  2  4  4   30   Kane
  1  7  2   30   Chris Jericho
  1  5  4   28   Yoshihiro Tajiri
  4  0  2   24   C.W. Anderson
  3  2  1   23   Minoru Fujita
  2  3  2   23   Elix Skipper
  1  4  3   23   Cima
  0  1 10   23   Trish Stratus
  2  2  3   22   Jeff Jarrett
  1  5  1   22   Roadkill
  3  1  1   20   Ikuto Hidaka
  2  2  2   20   General Rection
  2  2  1   18   Eddie Guerrero
  0  4  3   18   D-Von Dudley
  3  0  1   17   Test
  1  2  3   17   Guido Maritato
  1  2  3   17   Ayako Hamada
  2  0  3   16   Albert
  1  1  2   12   Tiger Mask IV
  1  1  2   12   Jun Akiyama
  1  1  1   10   Cat
  1  1  1   10   Al Snow
  0  2  2   10   Suwa
  1  0  2    9   Bull Buchanan
  1  1  0    8   Steven Richards
  1  1  0    8   Chyna
  1  0  1    7   Rhino
  1  0  1    7   Perry Saturn
  1  0  1    7   Katsumi Usuda
  0  1  2    7   Mike Awesome
  0  1  2    7   Danny Doring
  0  2  0    6   Mika Akino
  0  2  0    6   Genki Horiguchi
  0  0  3    6   David Flair
  1  0  0    5   Trent Acid
  1  0  0    5   Tomoaki Honma
  1  0  0    5   Taiyo Kea
  1  0  0    5   Shannon Moore
  1  0  0    5   Onryo
  1  0  0    5   Mari Apache
  1  0  0    5   Kaoru
  1  0  0    5   Goldberg
  1  0  0    5   Chuck Palumbo
  1  0  0    5   Chapparita Asari
  1  0  0    5   Alex Wright
  0  1  1    5   FM-Taro
  0  1  1    5   C.J. Anderson
  0  1  1    5   Billy Kidman
  0  0  2    4   EZ Money
  0  1  0    3   Tony Mamaluke
  0  1  0    3   Tony DeVito
  0  1  0    3   Takashi Sasaki
  0  1  0    3   Takao Omori
  0  1  0    3   Shane Helms
  0  1  0    3   Ric Blade
  0  1  0    3   Policeman
  0  1  0    3   Kid Lightning
  0  1  0    3   Christopher Daniels
  0  1  0    3   Bradshaw
  0  0  1    2   Yun Yang
  0  0  1    2   Vader
  0  0  1    2   Tazz
  0  0  1    2   Rob Van Dam
  0  0  1    2   Pete Rose
  0  0  1    2   Mona
  0  0  1    2   Matt Hardy
  0  0  1    2   Kuishinbo Kamen
  0  0  1    2   Justice Pain
  0  0  1    2   Joey Abs
  0  0  1    2   Jeff Hardy
  0  0  1    2   Hulk Hogan
  0  0  1    2   Gedo
  0  0  1    2   Essa Rios
  0  0  1    2   D'Lo Brown
  0  0  1    2   Brian Adams


  2  1  4        Edge & Christian
  1  2  0        Hardy Boyz
  0  1  0        Dudley Boyz
  0  0  1        Duplicate votes
  0  0  1        "Tie" votes

HIRO: Triple H easily wins. Rock is almost the same as Triple H, the Iron
Man match easily gave them the nod for this category. Angle also has
adapted well into the Pro-wrestling side.

DEAN RASMUSSEN: Ikuto Hidaka crawled out of the shadow of Minoru Tanaka
and became a really great worker this year. His matches against Tanaka and
Usuda were a new, better Hidaka. Hopefully, he gets the same opportunities
this year with the beloved but embattled BAT-BAT. Genki Horiguchi is
really polished now and seems to have been born polished to a certain
extent. FM-Taro went from also-ran Kageki Undercard shmoe to guy who can
hang with Takeshi motherfuckin Sasaki in the best little batch of matches
in all of Japan Indie World this year.

CHRIS BIRD: He may be a classless sumbitch who likes to call out us
internet folk, but nobody deserves this award more than C.W. Anderson, who
last year was a deserved nobody and this year is easily one of the most
solid and consistent wrestlers in the business. The fact that he's
main-eventing ECW these days may be taken as desperation of the comapny by
some. I consider it to be a damned good idea. The Rock - much as he can
annoy me - has improved greatly over the past year, working on his
conditioning, his selling, his psychology, and expanding his already
impressive offense to a eye-widening degree. Third place goes to Kid Kash,
he of the crazed spots, who invents ever yet more crazed spots.

JASON BOUGGER: Triple H carried the fed all year.  He improved greatly
compared to 1998/1999. Also picked Buh Buh Ray Dudley for his in-ring
charisma & Shane-O-Mac for his improved interviews and ability to take
major bumps early in the year.

JASON: Kurt Angle just *started* wrestling pro last year.  Look at him
now. I also think that the Rock has become much better after working with
Benoit.  He's still not great, but way better than he was at this time
last year.

ROBERT STRUPP: One of the hardest categories to call, but the improvement
Hunter has shown since last year is really amazing. Triple H is a
different wrestler than Hunter Hearst Helmsley the Greenwich snob, or HHH
the Degenerate. Lance Storm has been entertaining all year, but really
began to show a different side on the mic and in the ring since his move
to WCW. I credit Chris Benoit with the Rock's improvement, almost as if
the Rock realized that the business might actually involve a stronger
moveset with the addition of the Radicalz, and not wanting to be left
behind. Especially since Hunter has a larger variation on his moveset now,
and a returning Austin has always had a stronger wrestling background from
his days as Stunning Steve.

BEN WEINER: Angle really has come a long way since Survivor Series 99.
Rock in an Iron Man match? Regal got off the bottle and a new start.

ALEX GIPSON: Triple H, for reasons which need no explanation. Kurt Angle,
for the best rookie year I can recall. The Rock, for being able to keep up
with just about ANYBODY these days.

CHRIS OSTER: Again, it's SO hard to believe how maligned Triple H was at
the start of the year when you look at him now.  Easy pick for most
improved, as he's truly improved every facet of himself.  Regal may be the
only one who's improved more, but, to be fair, he was only around for the
last couple of months, so he takes second.  Kurt Angle and his meteoric
rise claim third spot...I mean, how much further down can you be than
never having been on TV or wrestled a high-profile match?

DANIEL HERMAN: Regal went from high and unmotivated to clean and
dangerous, he's back where he used to be, but it was far too long since he
was there last. GO REGAL

SCOTT W.: Hardcore Holly.  He seems to get better and better every time I
see him. Too Bad about the broken arm.  Rikishi really has turned things

DONNIE VOMIT: From ECW dark matches to ECW main eventer in one year, C.W.
Anderson got farther this year than RVD did in his entire tenure.  Elix
Skipper is a great young talent, undeserving of that retarded name.  
Triple H, well, he's a lot better than last year.

PETE GOODRICH: Considering I used to truly hate Triple Honky, he's really
proved himself this year.  I hated him as the CT blueblood, and as Shawns
DX buttbuddy, and as the Buffer wanna-be..but as heels go he rocks.  And
he put over TAKA~!

JOHN C.: In the first five or six years of his career Hunter had very few
great matches. This year alone I could rattle off at least a half dozen
matches that were four stars or greater and for that he is a runaway
winner for this award. The same can be said for The Rock as he added more
moves to his repertoire, he had a better sense of ring psychology and he
became consistently good at just about everything. My third choice may be
a surprising one but I really felt that Scott Taylor (Scotty 2 Hotty of
"Too Cool) improved tremendously this year as he made us forget about the
horrendous Too Much tag team. His performance against Dean Malenko at
Backlash stands out for me. I can't give Angle any mention here because I
had not seen him before his WWF debut.

GREG NECASTRO: Undertaker may be at the end of his career, but this
repackaged image is fun to watch.  He seems to be enjoying what he's doing
and not worring about how it may affect his legacy.

TONY LING: The Rock has really, REALLY gotten better both in moveset and
selling since last year. Angle really shouldn't be in here, but I voted
for him because he's improved since, uh, his Olympic days, I guess. Buh
Buh has gotten way better since his ECW days.

ANDY P. GOSS: How do you NOT vote for HHH?  He's gone from being
completely knee-oriented to learning psychology, ring presence, and so
much more.  Meanwhile, Sean O'Haire improves literally by the minute, and
is a breakout star in the future.  And as for Hardcore Holly, well... this
time last year, he was beating up fat people.  Nowadays, he could legit
win the I-C or World Title and people wouldn't mind.  Popular opinion

STEPHEN TISZENKEL: There was a period of about two or three months during
2000 where Kurt Angle would come out every week and be noticeably more
entertaining, much as Scott Steiner and Triple H used to become noticeably

JON WALTON: Triple H has taken himself from talentless slug, to competent,
to above average to top caliber worker in a span of three years.  His
progress is not so much from bad to good as it is from dull to dynamic.

EZE4DA3747: HHH, your buddies at Wrestleline said he wouldn't make it as a
heel.  Rikishi, who remembered his other gimmick, and of course you saw
Austin vs.  Benoit on Raw last week. Where the hell did all that technical
wrestling come from. Also I want him to bust out the Million Dollar Dream
cause I got no idea what your talkin about.

COLIN MORTON: It's weird, but the WWF's top three guys for an extended
period all pulled their game up by huge amounts.  Angle has earned every
major title in less than a year, and become (perhaps)  the WWF's most
entertaining wrestler.  Triple H was given the chance to be the man, and
became The Man.  Even the Rock, working with Benoit, started busting out
moves he'd never shown before.

EDDIE BURKETT: The Rock has been quite impressive ever since his feud with
Benoit, pulling out Sharpshooters and leg whips and whatnot, which is much
improved from his usual repoitoire.  Edge and Christian got the nod since
last Nov, they were like the Hardiez in that they were a silent tag team
that wrestled, and have since SO transcended that motiff.  They TOTALLY
ROCK!, if only for their interview skillz, and sunglasses.

JAMES HOWARD: Think about the Rock, Scotty II Hotty and Lita one year ago.
Now think of the Rock, Scotty II Hotty and Lita today. It's like an
episode of Sliders or something. :)

JUST JEFF: Shane O'Mac gets high marks on my scorecard for being willing
to get his ass busted big time on PPV.  Him, a pussy?  I DON'T THINK SO!

GEORGE JOHNSON: It's amazing how much natural talent Angle has.  He could
go on to be an all-time great.

JOE GAGNE: This category is the closest we have to a "Rookie of the Year"
award, so Kurt Angle gets it.  From WWF newcomer to World Champion in less
than a year---amazing.  Suwa and Cima are getting so good so fast it?s

BOB MORRIS: The jump from ECW to WCW proved to be a good move for Lance
Storm. Even though WCW was in chaos most of the year, Lance proved to be
one of the bright spots this year. He got himself over quite easily with
the WCW fanbase as a top heel, his wrestling was always sharp, and he
provided some of the better matches on Nitro over the summer. While it's
true the gimmick has been watered down because of Team Canada, I can't
penalize Lance for making an effort to become a better worker and

JEREMY SORIA: By jumping from WCW to the WWF, Chris Benoit's workrate went
up tremendously. He's always been a great wrestler, and with the work he's
done this year, it makes him even more deserving as most improved.  I had
to like Chris Jericho's improvement in wrestling, especially after
removing the albatross known as Chyna from his side. Steve Blackman, with
the Al Snow gimmick, actually coaxed a few smiles and a few more wrestling
moves out of him. I'm glad to see him get better after these years. If
only Al Snow could have coaxed Ken Shamrock to come back to the WWF.
(Here's hoping Shamrock returns next year… he'd have some great matches
with the kind of talent now in the WWF.)

RICK SCAIA: It's incredible to conceive of a guy going from "developmental
talent" to WWF champ all within one voting year.  That's exactly what Kurt
Angle did.  He was obviously pretty well polished by the time he debuted
last November, but he's continued to improve his game.  Especially notable
is how effective a speaker Angle has become after some early awkwardness.  
It's hard to tell if I'm motivated to put Steve Corino down at #2 on this
list because Corino himself upped his game in 2000, or if ECW simply upped
the way they booked him; in any case, Corino went from comic relief jobber
to champ this year, and pulled it off plausibly.  The Rock gets #3 from
me, in no small part because of a mini-feud against Chris Benoit and an
Iron Man match against Triple H that necessarily expanded his repretoire
of moves by a factor of 6 or 7; the Rock doesn't have to keep getting
better, but sure do appreciate the fact that he does.

TROY OLSON: I never thought I'd see the day when HHH would ever wrestle in
4 exteremly good PPV matches and pull out at least a decent match most
every time he wrestled.  Rock also seemed to step up his workrate, as
compared to last year.

NATHAN LONEY: Hardcore Holly.  Not because he's healthy, but because he's
gotten much better as the year has gone along.  He looks sharper than he
did before.  Milkman Val Venis has gotten better as well.  And Kurt Angle
has polished his skills to the point he's at right now.

BILL LEHECKA: I've never seen such a meteoric rise like the one Kurt Angle
experienced this year.  His charisma has really led him to the upper
eschelon quicker than anyone I can remember.

NATE PATRIN: In the case of Lita, I'd say going from Essa Rios' valet to
possibly the most popular female wrestler *and* Women's Champion- no
matter how sloppy her 'ranas can be- is a hell of an improvement.

MATT SPAULDING: With a combination of good chemistry and better
opposition, The Rock took his game to surprising heights this year,
improving his offense, his interviews, and (really!) his selling.  Steve
Corino went from being just another mouthpiece to a guy who had two of
ECW's better matches this year (Tajiri at Hardcore Heaven, Lynn at Heat
Wave).  Mike Sanders came from nowhere jobbing on Saturday Night to become
one of the few "over" young talents in WCW.

BLAZEJ SZPAKOWICZ: Again I find myself using this award as a substitute
for Rookie of the Year, as my top vote goes to Kurt Angle. He's just great
in every facet of the game, and a deserving World's Champion. Christian
gets second. Okay, he's always been good in the ring, but I guess I only
recently realized just *how* good. And he's certainly showing more
charisma than ever before. Rikishi gets third. I figure anyone that could
bounce back to the level he's at after working as the *Sultan* deserves a

KEVIN SMITH: Like him or not, the Rock is a much better wrestler than he
was a year or two ago. He did well in the Iron Man Match, too - it wasn't
all Triple H. (just mostly) :) Speaking of HHH, he has done from being
tag-along upper-midcarder to arguably the WWF's MVP 2000. Blackman has
gone from unwatchable to really entertaining.

ERIC STRAGAND: These guys were pretty much mid-carders or unknowns last
year. The past year saw these three guys garner alot of recognition, both
among the general public and "smarks".

OCTAVIAN: Triple H and Rock have both drastically improved their games
over the last year.  Rock in particular should be commended for adding to
his moveset and trying new things in the ring.

LAWRENCE BENEDETTO: Trip went above and beyond in 2000

TANVIR RAQUIB: Vince Russo gave Bill Demott the opportunity to go from a
big, underused laughing man into a big guy with a very silly name and
fatigues. General Rection singlehandedly won my respect with his work with
Lance Storm, his intense interviews and being the one exception of the
Russo era.

MIKE PLYLEY: From Headcheese to hardcore, the WWF has played on Steve
Blackman's lack of charisma to actually get him over (though some will
argue that).  I don't care though, he's become a favorite of mine over the
year.  Big Vito has big things in his future if he can get out of some of
the god-awful fueds he's had.  And Steve Regal came out of nowhere to
become one of the WWF's freshest faces, and a great heel to boot.  It's
great to see how a guy can turn his life around. (Scott Hall, are you

TOM CRUZ: I had to toss in a vote for Trish Stratus. If she hasn't come a
long way baby, I don't know who has.

NICK RANGEL: Who knew Christian had it in him.  From Gangrel's brooding
"friend" to popculture loving smart-ass, Christian came further faster
than anyone expected.

JEFF "FRO" WAHLMAN: I saw Kurt Angle in a dark match against Thrasher
before he debuted. I saw nothing special at all. The crowd sat on their
hands and laughed that it was the Patriot's music. Look at him now.  Rock
has improved a ton since wrestling Benoit as noted above.  Regal got clean
and what a difference that makes!

PHIL PRZYBYLO: Regal deserves this award.  He's turned his career and life
around.  He honored Pillman at the memorial show with a great match, too.  
He's in great shape.  He's knocked off all the ring rust.  He's even
talking a great game.  Christian also deserves a mention because who knew
he could be such a dick.  He's got a major presence in the ring and on the
mic.  A future singles megastar.

ROB "R2K" EVANS: Most Improved - HHH definitely elevated his game this

C McMURTRY: Remember when the best thing other wrestlers would say about
Scott Taylor is that he is a "good hand"? Over the past year, with a
cheesy gimmick that got over much to my surprise, Taylor was able to show
that he can work. And all the time in the spotlight allowed him to work
with more top flight guys (Malenko, Hardys, etc.), and thus, broadened his
horizons and improved his work. The Rock has shown that he does have an
offence, and like Taylor, all the great workers he has had matches with
this year appear to have rubbed off on him. At the beginning of the year,
Kid Kash was a spot worker who showed good high fying abilities, but the
problem was, those fantastic spots weren't hit often enough. He's not
perfect, but in that area, it's like night and day.

JIMBO: Kurt Angle went from amateur wrestler to WWF Champ in a
year...Thats improvement!  Steve Blackman finally learned that he can be
entertaining in a way thats comfortable to him.  And the Rock, well, did
exactly that.  He improved his wrestling.

JBELL55146: Everybody knows about number 1, so let's talk about number 2,
Kurt Angle. How this man went from his first match at Survivor Series, to
walking away with the world title in September is just amazing. He has
improved in his interviews, and his wrestling style has vastly improved.
And Hardcore Holly used to be a race car driver?! Hard to belive. A shame
he went and broke his arm cuz he was coming on strong before his injury.

General Comments
Best Wrestler
Best Tag Team
Best Heel
Best Babyface
Best Worker
Best Jobber
Best Jobber to the Stars
Best Flyer
Best Technical
Best Brawler
Most Favourite
Most Improved
Most Overrated
Best Gimmick
Best Move
Best Match
Best Feud
Worst Wrestler
Worst Tag Team
Worst Heel
Worst Babyface
Worst Worker
Least Favourite
Most Deteriorated
Most Underrated
Worst Gimmick
Worst Move
Worst Match
Worst Feud
Most Disappointing News item
Most Obnoxious
Best Second
Best Announcer
Best Colour
Best Interviewee
Best Angle
Best Organization
Best TV Show
Best Major Show
Best Promotional Move
Worst Second
Worst Announcer
Worst Colour
Worst Interviewee
Worst Angle
Worst Organization
Worst TV Show
Worst Major Show
Worst Promotional Move
'netter Suggested Awards


Copyright (C) 1999, 2000 Christopher Robin Zimmerman & KZiM Communications