The WWE main-event picture found itself flush with talent this year, as CM Punk, The Rock, John Cena, Daniel Bryan, and even Ryback all shared the spotlight. While the product found itself in a lull at times, a few superstars really made their mark in 2013.
2013 Superstar of the Year
Brian Fritz: Daniel Bryan
No one would have expected that the pure wrestling dynamo would develop into such an interested personality on the WWE stage. Even more, he has become a fan favorite as much for what he does outside the ring and he does in the ring. Who would have thought that the best pound-for-pound technical wrestler in the world would have the most popular catchphrase too. Once he gets in the squared circle, he has had good if not great matches with everyone as well including a fantastic main event at Summerslam with John Cena to a smash mouth, show stealer on Raw late in the year. While people can be upset about his positioning on the card and there are still some questions about his overall drawing power, Bryan has stepped out as one of the top stars in the WWE to loyal fans and still has more room to grow.
Michael A. Wiseman: Daniel Bryan
Easy pick – an obvious pick, but an easy one nevertheless. His tag-team work with Kane in early 2013 was a lot of fun. I almost felt like it ended too soon… until I saw what the company had in store. No other superstar defied expectations like Daniel Bryan did this year. No other superstar found themselves being praised for delivering the best in-ring work of the year, as well as some of the most entertaining promo work. No other wrestler had a bigger catchphrase (“Yes!”.. “No!”), or elicited a bigger reaction from every wrestling crowd across America. People can complain about his position on the card. They can even complain that he’s not the champion (because, honestly, that is blaspheme), but many kudos to Bryan for taking full advantage of every opportunity he’s been handed in WWE. Plus, whenever you’re popular enough to become a part of the company’s pop-culture efforts, like in ‘Total Divas,” you’re pretty much a made man.
Steven Muehlhausen: Daniel Bryan
Going into 2013, if you thought Daniel Bryan could be Superstar of the Year, you would be the smartest man in the history of wrestling. Bryan had the perhaps the biggest rise in the history of wrestling. Bryan started the year as part of Team Hell No with Kane. It was a very dynamic team and the pairing was absolute gold, but you knew that Bryan was the star of the team. He showed comedic timing that no one thought he had. It got to the point of when the team was about to break up, Bryan was getting the loudest ovations of the night on every television show and pay-per-view.
Bryan’s chance to shine came when the WWE put Bryan in the main event against WWE champion John Cena at Summerslam, which is the second biggest event of the year for the company. Bryan and Cena quite arguably put on the match of the year, with Bryan winning the belt, pinning Cena. Bryan lost the title though moments later when HHH pedigreed Bryan and Randy Orton cashed in his MITB briefcase to win the belt. Bryan and Orton headlined the next three PPV’s with Orton coming out of their final match with the title.
The booking was heavily criticized as WWE made Bryan look like he was too small and had no chance to win the belt. Through everything he has been through in 2013, Bryan has received the loudest ovations at virtually every event and having the best match on the show.
Who is your pick for “Superstar of the Year”? Do you think Brian, Steve, and Michael got it right? Let your voice be heard in the comments below! Also, be sure to keep up will all the Best of 2013: Professional Wrestling picks right here at Between The Ropes.