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2001 R.S.P-W Awards

General Comments


This entire document copyright 2001 by Christopher Robin Zimmerman.  Portions
of this document are copyright 1990-1995 by Herb Kunze and used with his kind

Visit Herb's Awards page at <>.
The 1999 Awards can be found at <>.
The 2000 Awards can be found at <>.

I can be reached by emailing

First, some general comments...

STUART: My interest in American wrestling hit an all-time low this year,
especially after WCW and ECW folded, giving people just one easy-to-access
choice, Vince McMahon's action-adventure sports-entertainment. The U.S.
indy scene improved to the point where it delivered a few top notch
matches, but is very spotty and hasn't benefited from the monopolization
of the U.S. wrestling scene as many predicted. Japan had a better 2001
than 2000, but the climate there is still on very shakey ground, with
something of a "dark age" (ala mid-90's American wrestling) taking place.
As is the case virtually every year, Japan dominated the top match of the
year list (although I'm sure the RSPW results will say otherwise. =),
with the MVP of 2001, New Japan's Keiji Muto, involved in many excellent
high level matches this year. In a time of uncertainty, two wrestlers
busted their asses this year to have great matches, despite both being
physical wreckes. Keiji Muto and Steve Austin. Both are masters of
psychology and know how to work around their limitations to perfection. In
Muto's case, his knees are _dead_ and he cannot go through a match without
limping. The best company this year was New Japan, despite it's horrendous
booking. Antonio Inoki's vision of a MMA-influenced pro wrestling in Japan
became more of a reality, with his guys dominating major New Japan Dome
shows, with wins over shooters and in some cases (Fujita vs. Frye on
7/20), against each other. Before anyone argues that this is good for the
business, go and check out the attendances for many of the shows this year
- bad. New Japan's bad booking was mostly on the big shows and between
those they had some awesome tours, with one of the best heavyweights in
the world, Yuji Nagata, finally being pushed to the top in an excellent G1
Climax. Also, with Riki Choshu quitting as booker mid-year, Jushin Thunder
Liger was able to begin restructuring the famous New Japan juniors
division and started by bringing in the popular and much improved indy
freelance team of Jado and Gedo. The New Japan heavyweights also stepped
up, with great performances by Muto (of course), Nagata, Hiroyoshi Tenzan,
Satoshi Kojima, Takashi Iizuka and others, as well as workrate
improvements from Kensuke Sasaki, Manabu Nakanishi and other former bad
workers. It was a good year for match quality in New Japan, but the
company really needs to control it's own Dome shows. Elsewhere in Japan,
NOAH had a quietly decent year, as Misawa didn't rely on outsiders to draw
crowds for his shows. In recent times, NOAH's booking has been more
focused, but the company still lacks a lot. The formerly great All Japan
was reduced to a shell, carried by the interpromotional feud with New
Japan (Keiji Muto winning AJ's Triple Crown) and the forever-awesome
Toshiaki Kawada. Genichiro Tenryu, head booker of the company, booked All
Japan into the ground by hiring his former WAR lackies and pushing them to
the moon, while criminally de-emphasizing Kawada and Taiyo Kea. As always,
the Japanese indies presented some fantastic action, but the death of
BattlARTS, Yuki Ishikawa's worked shoot-style group, is a big blow.
Overall, it's been a really bad year and hopefully it's all uphill from

EDDIE BURKETT: Overall, after the AMAZING year the WWF had last year, this
year seems harder to choose from.  While there are some clear favorites
and standouts from this year, most of this year fails to compare to what I
voted for last year, and that's making this voting really hard.  That, and
HHH, one of my favorite wrestlers has been out since May, and absence does
tend to make voters forgetful...

LINUS INGOLDSBY: A pretty dull year for US wrestling.  Bright Spots - ECW
appearing on Raw, Stone Cold, Wrestlemania.  Dull Spots - the last 4

BRUNO PULVER: Since the demise of WCW and Monday Nitro, wrestling flat out
sucks. WWFs creative team (being on autopilot for few recent years now to
begin with), cant book shit despite endless amount of possibilities and
wrestlers available to them. WWF needs shock therapy, instant turnaround,
new attitude. The Alliance angle is totally stale, about as pointless as
"The Union" was. Even Sullivan could book better angles than WWF creative
team. WWF sucked even when WCW and ECW where kicking, but at the moment
being without a competition they're just ripping people of with sub par
product. An alternative nationwide promotion is badly needed.

AMI: The year started out very strong.  It came in with a roar and out
with a whimper.  The demise of WCW and ECW, along with so many injuries to
top-tier players really hurt what started out as a promising year for
wrestling. 5. KERROTSNOT:  Kurt Angle can carry a broomstick to a good

DENNIS HO: it's a shame Hayabusa has his career ended like this....

SCOTT CRAWFORD: This year can be summed up as a really disappointing one,
maybe the most disappointing in wrestling history. Vince McMahon finally
had the goods to hit one completely out of the park, and blow us away for
good, and he instead whimpers through 6 months of some of the greatest
misuses of talent this side of Eric Bischoff and Verne Gagne. I went from
really being excited about watching wrestling on Mondays to barely caring.
In fairness, he WAS hurt by unplanned stretches without 3 of his top
workers (Eddie Guerrero, Triple H, and Chris Benoit), and a major contract
holdout (Goldberg, who appears to be retired...), but aside from them, he
had the world by the noogies and just let it slip away,
slowly...painfully. It seems that the WCW curse has spread to its new
owner, as of now, but perhaps, something can be salvaged of what's
currently on record as the worst botched angle EVER.

MEDISINNER MAN: This is the year everything changes.  The Twin Towers
going down by an attack.  The Taliban and Osama bin Laden going down by an
even more devastating attack from America.  Major league baseball owners
want to retract teams over loud objections from everyone else.  And WWF
buy out and absorbing all the major competing rival organizations.  So far
the major angle did not pan out so well.  Wrestling attendance and TV
audience shrinks.  What can Vincent K do to turn it around?  Only time
will tell.

EMILY CALLEGARI: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. What
could have gone down as the most exciting year in pro-wrestling history
ends up in the gutter. We started the year with the big three and ended
with the tired and beaten Alliance bowing to the WWF at Survivor Series.
It pains me to see professional wrestling in such a sorry state - not that
there's anything I can really do about it. But I think some of my votes
reflect my apathy. Rock? Jericho? Undertaker? Lita? You can go now. It's
been fun, but I think we should see other people. I am tired of all four
of these characters. I'm sure the year would have been slightly better if
Chris Benoit and Triple H were in action, even just to spice things up.

SCOTT WORDEN: Damn, the year is over.. What was going so fast, now seems
to have taken for ever to get over with.. WWF started out good, then just
nose dived.  How can people be this dumb?  I thought people were not, but
the WWF proved..  oh the humanity.. I would like to thank CRZ for doing
this..  I imagine it takes a ton of time to go through these and all..
Major props.  I think someone out there should get you a free Japanese
massage complete with the special "massage"  anyways, it is out of the
voting year, but Flair on Raw really picked things up HUGE.. already an
early "best News Item" or "Bets Promotional Move"

JASON MEAD: This year pales in comparison to last year, but match quality
was still on a good level. With Benoit, HHH, and Rock all gone for
extended periods of time, this year did suffer a little when being
compared to last year. But, Angle and Austin picked up slack, and while
the aforementioned were active they managed to rock my world. Angles were
alright until the Invasion angle, which sucked majorly. Overall, though,
decent year. Much better than 1999. That's pretty much the barrier for
suck. So, if it's better than 1999, we're not too bad.

ROBERT VAN PEER: All in all this had to be the worst year artistically in
recent wrestling history

CHRIS FICI: In a year when Vince McMahon screwed up what could've been the
biggest angle in wrestling history, we can take comfort in knowing that he
has quite a large bank account, which means he can give the Invasion
another good, old "college try."  Whether or not that is a good or bad
thing depends on who you listen to.  Steve Austin and Keiji Mutoh proved
that old dogs can learn new tricks, or at least return in beautiful
fashion to the tricks that made them so cool as old dogs.  Austin's heel
turn may not have been good business, but damn if it didn't add a whole
new dimension to one of the greatest characters in wrestling history.  
His 10 million great matches with every top WWF star not named or related
to the Undertaker is just the cherry on the sundae.  Mutoh, like Austin,
proved that crippling injuries are overrated, and brought the tears of
joyous workrate in his miraculous MOTY with Genichiro Tenryu this past
June.  2001 had too little Benoit and too much McMahon.  Reversing that
formula means 2002 will be a tidal wave of good cheer for all.

DONNY L: I can't believe I'm saying this but I miss WCW, never liked it
more then the WWF but it was atleast it was an alternative now there's
nothing that's very sad.

MAHSITTI:  Why do the McMahons stubbornly believe that anyone actually
wants to see them in MATCHES let alone wasting our time with family
squabble angles, ad nauseum?  Women's wrestling actually has fans who want
to see female wrestlers treated as intelligent, talented athletes rather
than as lowgrade strippers or afterthoughts. They are sexy enough without
being thrown in pools of gravy, but if that's how its gonna be then lets
have some equal opportunity. Gimme RVD in a thong dammit!

MICHAEL STAKELY: Agh, what a year.  ECW and WCW both collapse, and the WWF
proceeds to botch what should have been the greatest angle ever by not
hiring WCW's biggest stars and burying the ones they do pick up. Instead
they prefer to turn it into the McMahon Variety Show and subject the
viewers to an endless parade of Stephanie interviews. Of the Radicals; one
is retired, one is injured, one is reduced to cameo appearances, and the
other got himself fired.  Damn. This year wasn't as bad as last year, but
it sure as hell wasn't a good one for wrestling.

JOHN C.: The past twelve months have seen a lot of changes in wrestling.
Instead of three major companies, we only have one now. The WWF has an
amazing roster filled with all kinds of talent but there are only so many
people that can be on a show. Because of this, shows have been stagnant
and some fans have started to turn wrestling off. Despite all that, there
were some good things to look at in the last year. Steve Austin has become
the best performer in the business again even though he had to overcome a
major neck injury. Kurt Angle has turned himself into the most complete
wrestler while The Rock has continued to grow as a worker. Injuries to
Triple H and Chris Benoit have made us realize just how good they really
are. Overall, 2001 has been a decent year although not as good as last

PAUL M. M. JACOBUS: And way, waaaaay too many of the "Worst" categories
were hard to decide who was really the worst. This says a lot about the
state of affairs, when I spend twice as must time on the worst as the
best. Sigh.

GEOFF DINNES: I really only watched WWF. SO that is why all of my votes
are WWF. I watched very little WCW, and usually was so bored that I
changed teh channel before the segment over, hence the only votes for WCW
are in the 'Worst Organization' and 'Worst Show' catagories. I missed
Backlash and Judgement Day, and every other PPV I saw I enjoyed so that's
why 'Worst Major Show' is empty.

MATTY TONKIN: As you can see, I have mainly chosen only WWF events,
performers, etc for the awards. I'm 28 years old & have been watching the
WWF since around Wrestlemania 3. I dropped off just before Wrestlemania 6
(network TV stopped broadcasting the WWF), but I kept up to date from
around Wrestlemania 10 through rental PPV videos). Finally just before
Survivor Series 98, we got cable television & I became a full-time WWF fan
again. I tape almost every show in full. Is that weird ?? Oh well. I used
to watch WCW occasionally, but gave up on them quite a long time ago & so
didnt see any of the WCW shows immediately prior to their sale to the WWF.
We never got ECW on television in Australia, so I cant comment on their
quality (except for seeing a few ECW videos).

JEREMY SORIA: The year 2001 was a very significant year for wrestling.
With the deaths of WCW and ECW, Vince McMahon's dream to kill off all the
other major wrestling promotions in the United States has come true. It is
only just now have we begun to realize how much the product hasn't really
changed for the better now that there's only one major wrestling company
out there. The news isn't all that bad, for it has encouraged some fans to
start attending their local independent wrestling groups a lot more often.
(All the better if they actually have a decent indy wrestling promotion.)
The WWF had been doing some very good wrestling up until the last few
weeks of the voting period. They sure needed to distinguish itself from
the also-ran WCW "attitude"-infused product that reigned over there until
its demise. This year was also a lot of unfullfilled potential for a lot
of the wrestlers that came over to WCW. A lot of that is the WWF's fault,
for they just don't want to give the newcomers some kind of a shot at a
good spot on the card. If the WWF isn't careful, they might end up
infinitely recycling the same guys again, much like the last months of the
USWA. This landscape is sure going to be a lot different in the future. A
lot of the guys I've enjoyed watching over the years are sitting on huge
contracts from WCW (Bill Goldberg) or are busy with other things (Ken
Shamrock) or are just sitting out just simply because they didn't take
advantage of their one shot at the big time (Buff Bagwell). I am
discouraged by a lot of the stuff I see in the WWF... I sure hope that
things will look up for them. Then again, I think I said that about the
WWF last year.

RAGEROCKRR: Steve Austin was booked as so many worsts because despite his
excellent match with Triple H at No Way Out, and his matches with Benoit
and Jericho, he's totally deteriorated, his heel turns sucked, and he's
switched from face to heel so many times this year, I find it hard to care
about him any more.

WILL SCHLICKENMAIER: In general, a good year for wrestling.  Workrate in
the WWF skyrocketed on the heels of Austin's successful surgery, Benoit's
elevation, and Angle's consistent quality work.  And the US indies took
off in a way no one could have expected.  But as the year ends, things
look dark again for wrestling...

KAZAMA2000: There were so many great matches during the early-mid part of
the year in WCW,ECW and WWF,it was hard to pick just 3.Conversely,the WWf
made so many mistakes(most of it during the invasion angle)I just wanted
to cut and paste that whole last column.They screwed
Storm,Booker,Kanyon,DDP,Jerry Lynn,Tajiri, Shane Helms,even RVD.Im not
going to even talk a bout the trash there putting on now,but after all
Vince has done for us,who am I to complain?

MATT SPAULDING: Well, 2001 began with the end of the wrestling boom,
continued with the fadeout of ECW and the purchase of WCW by the WWF, and
ended with a disappointing invasion angle being brought to a close.  But
almost anything would have been a disappointment after the WWF's 2000,
which, from January through August, will rank as one of the great runs of
all time by a wrestling company.

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 © 1999-2001 Christopher Robin Zimmerman & KZiM Communications