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2001 R.S.P-W Awards

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

**2001**: Rob van Dam

302 first place votes
293 second place votes
279 third place votes

 46 42 20  396   Rob van Dam
 40 36 29  366   Rhyno
 35 18 30  289   Kurt Angle
 37 20 12  269   Steve Austin
 18 15 31  197   Test
 17 23 20  194   Edge
 10 26 10  148   Christian
 12 15 19  143   Trish Stratus
 14  7  9  109   Booker T
 13 11  5  108   Keiji Muto
 10  7 18  107   Albert
  6  9 10   77   Hurricane
  5  4  8   53   Chris Jericho
  3  7  8   52   Rock
  6  3  4   47   Shane McMahon
  4  3  2   33   Chris Benoit
  2  6  2   32   Low Ki
  1  5  4   28   Mighty Molly
  2  2  4   24   X-Pac
  0  4  3   18   Tajiri
  0  4  2   16   Undertaker
  3  0  0   15   Excalibur
  2  1  1   15   Manabu Nakanishi
  0  4  0   12   Riot
  0  2  3   12   Jason Jett
  2  0  0   10   Gedo
  0  2  2   10   Scott Steiner
  1  0  2    9   Sean O'Haire
  0  3  0    9   Kanyon
  0  1  3    9   Takeshi Suguira
  1  1  0    8   Taiyo Kea
  1  0  1    7   Black Tiger (Silver King)
  1  0  1    7   Big Show
  1  0  1    7   Amber Holly
  0  2  0    6   Kane
  1  0  0    5   Yoshiko Tamura
  1  0  0    5   Triple H
  1  0  0    5   Tetsuhiro Kuroda
  1  0  0    5   Takehiro Murahama
  1  0  0    5   Scott Hall
  1  0  0    5   Kidman
  1  0  0    5   Jacklyn Hyde
  1  0  0    5   Billy Gunn
  1  0  0    5   American Dragon
  0  1  1    5   Yoshihiro Takayama
  0  0  2    4   Steve Blackman
  0  0  2    4   Kumiko Maekawa
  0  1  0    3   Tomokazu Morita
  0  1  0    3   Sachie Abe
  0  1  0    3   Farah the Persian Princess
  0  1  0    3   FANG Suzuki
  0  1  0    3   Donovan Morgan
  0  1  0    3   Disco Fury
  0  1  0    3   Dean Malenko
  0  1  0    3   Chuck Palumbo
  0  0  1    2   Yoshito Sasaki
  0  0  1    2   Takeshi Rikio
  0  0  1    2   Stacy Keibler
  0  0  1    2   Michiko Ohmukai
  0  0  1    2   Matt Hardy
  0  0  1    2   Mark Henry
  0  0  1    2   Jeff Hardy
  0  0  1    2   Caliente
  0  0  1    2   AKIRA


  0  1  1        Duplicated votes

RYAN HALL: Rhyno, Angle, Van Dam. Rhyno's match with Raven was a pleasure
to watch. Van Dam has weeded the crap out of his arsenal.

EDDIE BURKETT: Steve Austin went from being a decrepit old has been this
time last year to PHENOMENAL!!!!  X-Pac picked up his tired old act and
changed it and gave us some decent light heavyweight/cruiserweight title
matches for it.  Rob Van Dam stopped doing what I always considered his
fake and business exposing blatantly choreographed routine at the
beginning of every match where he and his opponent would trade blows and
kick and dodges and reversals only to stop and wait for applause at the
end of the sequence.  (I didn't mind the sequence as much as the stop and
wait for applause)  At any rate, he stopped doing that, and since then
I've liked him infinitely more for it.

HIRO: Kurt Angle continues to shine in only his second year of pro
wrestling. Rob van Dam has somehow adapted into the WWF style very well.

PAUL ZOROVICH:  Yep, Trish Stratus.  She's visibly improved over the past
year -- she can actually take a passable bump now -- where I haven't
really seen any improvement from anyone else in the same period.

JESSE HARALDSON: Chris Jericho went from stupid promos a third grader
wrote to intense fueds and comments with a top draw like the Rock.  That
is a big step up.

KERROTSNOT:  Rhyno is the only newbie that came to the WWF and fit in
right away, PLUS he got better as time went on.

VIKRAM BIRRING: It is nice to see that Van Dam does not stall for, say,
90% of his matches anymore. Rhyno wrestles 300% better than in his ECW
days. Him breaking out the bearhug and airplane spin is just classic.

KEN DREILING: Rhyno built up an aresenal of moves that I haven't seen him
pull out before.  Rock just keeps growing as a wrestler every year.  
Trish looks like she's trying her ass off in there, as opposed to not at
all before.

STEPHEN TISZENKEL: I always knew I was a WWF mark, but this proves it.
Some people have been singing Booker T's praises for years, but I never
saw any value in him as a singles wrestler. Then he comes to the WWF and I
think he's one of the best things there inside of two months. It's too bad
he's kind of been buried, but he'll be back. Booker is a sure-thing future
WWF champion.

KHENYIAN CHEUNG: I watched two RVD PVP matches this year, the ECW 1/7/01
against Jerry Lynn, and the WWF Invasion match against Jeff Hardy.  The
difference seems monumental as RVD seems a lot mnore focused.  Even though
he still has the same moveset really, he taunts less and does more

DEAN RASMUSSEN: Keiji Muto spent the first four months of 2001 producing
POO. Then he had a string of matches that other wrestlers would build a
career on. Low-Ki went from high-grade spotmachine to BattlARTS level mat

CHIP BOOTS: Give Trish credit.  She didn't have to improve as much as she

MARKUS: RVD's improved on putting together actual matches instead of just
spotariffic outings, good stuff. The other two are there because I
couldn't think of anyone else to put in this category.

SCOTT WORDEN: Austin is with a doubt the most improved.. He comes back
after that surgery is better than ever..  Absolutely awesome..  Next is
Rhyno.. That guy really has improved..  too bad he is out for now.. Angle
just improves every year..  honorable mention to Trish.. She is not great
or anything, but she keeps trying and improving.

TERRY McMAHON: I honestly think that if we look at November 2000 to
November 2001, the Undertaker has really been one of the most improved
wrestlers out there.  He's quick, he has some variety of moves, and he
sometimes even sells, whereas in 2000 he just punched a lot.

SEAN FLYNN: Okay, so RVD potatoed a few people over the year.  He put
together quite coherent exciting matches with Jericho, Jeff Hardy, and
others.  He showed that his charisma could work on a main event level in
the WWF, not just in a bingo hall.  Rhyno was coming into his own as a
monster heel, amazing for someone his size, until he got injured.  I think
2002 could be his year. Christian really shone as a heel this year, and
seemed to step things up in my eyes in his interviews.

MARK POLISHUK: I used to hate Rhyno's undeserved push in ECW, but he
really (Jim Ross cliche ahead) stepped up his game after coming to the
WWF.  Too bad about his injury.

CANZ: Silver King went from half-assing it in Monterrey Atomicos matches
back to where he was originally- somewhere near the top.

SHOCKER 2K: RVD used to be a stale, spot-missing, sloppy wrestler. This
year, he's turned it all around. He has shown up critics all over the
internet, and will continue to do so, so long as he stays on the ball.

MIKE JOHNSON: 1. No one else really besides Test.  He has improved greatly
since that pointless team with Albert broke up.  Just wish he'd get an
actual finisher besides know, kick to the face

KEVIN WONG: Count me as one of the many converts to the new RVD.  He's
still spotty, but he's improved a hell of a lot from his ECW days...  and
once again, I must reiterate that I'm a Riot mark.  She's got such an
upside to her that it's a damn shame that the WWF didn't pick her up.  
And remember that she had about 3 months of training before decimating the
'opposition' in WOW...  Edge is Edge.  If they ever let him do something,
maybe he won't 'Billy Gunn' his King of the Ring year...

DONNY L: Trish Stratus(yes Trish) she has come such a long way this year,
from her start to carrying Steph to a great match at a PPV to her ankle
injury and coming back stronger then ever. Alot of male wrestlers should
use her as an example (cough Gunn, Bagwell cough). Rhyno 2nd hated him in
ECW love him now

PETER HAZLETT: Rock is more than just punches and rock bottom now, seems
to have some wrestling moves too.  Trish has gone from valet to champ and
it doesn't surprise

SIMON GRIER: RVD stepped up this year in a way none of the ECW bashers
expected he would to be by far the most successful of the invaders. Austin
was wrestling his best stuff since the neck injury. Stratus has gone from
non-wrestler to pretty bad but not abysmal wrestler.

JOHN C.: Rhyno stepped it up a notch ever since he entered the WWF. It's a
shame that he hurt his neck because he was really coming into his own. RVD
would have been my first choice but the fact that he potatoed a few people
doesn't help. In third I voted for Test because he started showing signs
of improvement after getting a push as a singles heel wrestler.

CHRIS GRIMM: Austin sucked upon his return and is probably the main reason
to watch the WWF right now.  Rhyno was rather boring in ECW (aside from
his lovely interviews), but came across as a serious monster in the WWF.  
(I think they could've put the WWF title on him at anytime from about June
forward and while it would've been a shocker, it would have been
credible.)  Hurricane Helms seemed destined for Jakked and the indies, but
a gimmick that I think I'm the only person to like has probably saved his
career.  (Yes, I know he's "gone" since Survivor Series, but he'll be
back, and we're not supposed to know about Survivor Series for these
awards anyway.)

SCOTT CHRIST: RVD was never really that bad, but now he's very, very good.

JOE GENTILE: Steve Austin is the most improved wrestler in the game by
virtue of being immobile a year agot to becoming the best wrestler out
there today.  RVD takes second, Kurt Angle is third.

BLAZEJ SZPAKOWICZ: I never particularly liked Rob van Dam in ECW, where he
was a master of the spot-stall-spot-play to the crowd-spot-repeat ad
nauseum school of wrestling. Somehow though, jumping to the WWF seems to
have convinced him to drop all the annoying stuff in his arsenal while
keeping the good stuff and, more importantly, to *actually* *wrestle*
*real* *matches* rather than just spot-spot-spot-ing. Angle gets second.
He was already great last year, and he's just been going from strength to
strength this year. Tajiri gets third. Okay, his actual in-ring work is
exactly the same is it always was. However, his WWF gimmick is
(paradoxically) a vast improvement over his ECW one.

MATTY TONKIN: I couldnt go past Austin as most improved. I used to hate
Austin as a face. Boring, tired & so repeditive. After turning heel,
getting paranoid & especially with his interogations of the alliance, he
became the highlight of the show. At Royal Rumble I knew he would win & I
was praying for someone to eliminate him so I didnt have to put up with
another year of the same old thing, but after the heel turn I have greatly
anticipated his promos & matches.

YNAE316: I've seen TONS of improvement over the year from all three and
though they could stand more refinement, we're finally seeing Edge and
Test get a break.

SHANE SPEAR: You might say that it was difficult for Booker T to improve,
but his heel character gave him so much more personality, something I feel
was sorely lacking in the old WCW.  Plus he dumped that old catchphrase
too.  His in-ring works was just barely short of awesome this year, as he
had some great matches with The Rock, Scott Steiner, and Kurt Angle.  I
hate Rhyno, but i have to vote for him here, but you'd be a moron to
believe that he didn't improve over the black hole he was in the dying
days of ECW.  Although I picked him second here, I full expect RHyno to
pick up the win in this cataGOREy.  Albert lifting Kane over his head is
MORE than enough for me to give him the third spot.  His I-C title reign
may have been forgettable, but it wasn't laugh out loud bad, like Chyna's

JUSTIN SHAPIRO: I saw Austin wrestle Rikishi in October and no he wasn't
so great.

THE CUBS FAN: Much respect to Trish for not settling for what she already
had (WWF women's acceptable wrestling, talking, being very hot) and trying
to better herself. In the late portions of the voting the year, she took
strides forward in the ring ('robably better than Lita now) and talking
(so so so much better than her intro promo on RAW) even though Trish's
position in the company probably wouldn't have been affected either way. I
apperciate it.

MATT SPAULDING: Last year I said: "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."  
Well, replace "The Rock" with "Rhyno" and that's why he's my first choice.  
Angle became more versatile in this, his second year in the WWF.  And
while Albert didn't exactly deserve that IC title run, he's still much
better than he was a year ago.

SHAWN MULLIN: RVD learned how to control himself, now he just needs to
stop busting noses.  Austin was pretty awful in the ring his first couple
of matches back, and he'd been basically doing the exact same thing for 3
years... but he turned it all around.  He brought new elements to his
character, even before the heel turn, and became the best wrestler in the
company.  Booker T is unchanged as a wrestler, but was actually able to
developpe a very entertaining heel character.  I never ever enjoyed his
mic work in WCW, but I thought he was tremendously entertaining as WCW's
heel champion.

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


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