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Home arrow Blog arrow Gimme Five arrow Gimme Five arrow G5: People's Choice Awards, The Shield, Jack Swagger & more
G5: People's Choice Awards, The Shield, Jack Swagger & more
Written by NZPWI G5 Panel   
Mar 01, 2013 at 02:52 PM

The votes are in for the NZPWI People's Choice Awards. We bring you our thoughts on the results.

We also discuss the direction of The Shield, and what the future might hold for Jack Swagger now that he's getting all the wrong sort of attention.

All this and more in this week's edition of Gimme Five.

1) The results of the 2012 NZPWI People’s Choice Awards are in, with CM Punk and AJ winning big in the US categories, while Impact Pro Wrestling cleaned up all the New Zealand categories. What do you think of the results? Did our readers make the right picks, or would you have chosen differently?

Kirsty:
CM Punk definitely earned the top spot, and although she didn't spend much time in the ring, AJ Lee certainly had a big year. I know I'm in a minority, but I can think of many other moments to beat the return of Brock Lesnar, someone I dearly wish would just go away.

I'm not really qualified to comment on the NZ results, as I haven't seen nearly as much of the product as I would like. I will just say though, that based on her accomplishments over 2012, Evie's top spot was well-deserved. That girl is a national treasure!

Luke:
I felt that the fan's choices reflected the masses. CM Punk is still the anti-hero that everybody loves, WrestleMania 28 blew everybody's socks off and the Hell in a Cell match was a masterpiece. Big congratulations to Travis Banks and Evie, two homegrown stars who deserve accolades and recognition from the fans for what they have achieved in the last year. Both Banks and Evie have broken into the international scene, making a name for themselves and proven that no dream is too small to achieve. My only disagreement was that the match of the year selection. Everybody should head over to my YouTube account and watch the Zero-One boys take on Team IPW. I understand that it is hard for most fans to see all the matches nominated though with increased coverage and resources we are in a time where we can provide the fans with a better local wrestling experience, but go check out that match. It is a winner.

Blake:
I'm WWE through and through, I'm and IPW fan when it comes to NZ wrestling. I'm stoked that there were two whitewashes, bit surprised by the fact though.

Scott:
No surprises, really, but that’s the nature of public polls. CM Punk, AJ Lee, WWE in general have the most fans, the most viewers, so they got the most votes. Was a bit more surprised to see how the local results all favoured IPW, however, but again maybe that’s just down to how many shows they do and how many fans they perform for. Evie’s vote was deservedly strong, and you can see that she must’ve taken votes from all the other women nominated. But that said, JPE making second place – despite having a relatively quiet year as she set up Maniacs – speaks well to her ability to engage with her fans online and maintain a presence even if she’s not doing as much wrestling as she used to.

David:
AJ, CM Punk, Evie, and Travis Banks were all deserving winners of their categories. Everything else isn't far off, either.

Zak:
I was happy with the results overall. Punk definitely deserved to take out the top honours, and it's hard to argue with most of the other winners. It was great to see IPW dominating the NZ categories, although I imagine audience numbers played a big part in this. I've yet to see an NZWPW or KPW show, but from what I hear those guys are doing a great job and probably deserved more recognition than they got in the end.

Stevie:
Pretty good results all around. The only thing for me is that the Hell in a Cell match is nowhere near the best match of last year. But I guess it's indicative of how starved fans are for actual storytelling in a match, when a guy without a diverse moveset and another with a broken hip win the top award for their efforts.


2) Hulk Hogan ended up picking Bully Ray as the challenger for Jeff Hardy’s TNA World Championship at Lockdown. A good choice? Are you looking forward to the match?

Kirsty:
No. And no.

Luke:
The stale, boring and stupid logic of Impact Wrestling has turned me off in recent months. And when I do tune in, I prefer the undercard.

Blake:
Meh... Bully Ray is a great wrestler, Jeff Hardy is a great wrestler, both were in their prime 5-10 years ago. Anderson should be leading that company to greater heights, but that would make sense.

Scott:
It’s all so predictable. Bully Ray will be revealed to be Aces & 8s leader, turning on Hogan and Hardy, and likely screwing Hardy out of the title in the process. Doesn’t inspire me to buy the pay per view, not at all.

David:
Is it nepotism from Hogan? Did Bully and Brooke get married? I don't know! I look forward to the match though. Bully Ray's been ready to be the face of the company for a long time now. Jeff Hardy had better be prepared to say goodbye to his title.

Zak:
Not at all. I know Bully Ray has come a long way since being Bubba-Ray Dudley but I still don't see him as a real title contender. Sure, he's good on the microphone, but at the end of the day he just doesn't have the in-ring skills to really impress me.

Stevie:
I can't find myself looking forward to anything featuring Jeff Hardy. Bully has been doing great work for years though. I look forward to the renewed heel run that's on the way.


3) The Shield are still running strong, defeating every big WWE name they come up against. Are you enjoying this faction’s storyline? Where do you think it’s heading, as we head towards WrestleMania?

Kirsty:
Loving The Shield. I always enjoy a good heel stable and these guys remind me a little of the Nexus, who were also deliciously brutish. I'm enjoying watching Roman Reigns develop both in the ring and on the mic, but I do wish that Seth Rollins would ditch his early-2000's-ROH-CM-Punk look. He's even imitating Punk's speech patterns. Be your own man Rollins! Dean Ambrose is a very solid performer.

I do think that in terms of storylines, they need to have a solid one in place leading up to WrestleMania. I think that clashing with the super-team of Sheamus, Ryback and Jericho is a good plan.

Luke:
I love The Shield. They are what Nexus should have been. I have enjoyed their storyline so far and feel that they are one of the bigger reasons to tune into WWE. They feel fresh, theyre new faces and they have gotten over to the point that when the lights go off, you know they're on the scene. I'm not sure whats going to happen heading into WrestleMania but I hope they make a big impact.

Blake:
Nobody is unbeatable. The Shield had better watch their backs, because a storm is near. Trust me, I'm a genius.

Scott:
The three official matches for The Shield so far have all been excellent encounters, and that The Shield keeps winning keeps surprising me! And, as a result, I have no idea where this is all heading on the Road to WrestleMania. And I like that. It’s surely heading towards some gimmicked six-man tag with any big name not otherwise booked for the biggest show, and the getting there is sure to be enjoyable.

David:
I like what they're doing and what they stand for. Nice to see they haven't been compromised yet, either. Ryback seems to be the man most at odds with what The Shield believes in, or the man who has taken the biggest issue with their actions, anyway, so I imagine he'll be across the ring from them at WrestleMania 29.

Zak:
Yeah, it's great to see three young guns being given such a great start. As long as WWE don't stuff this up than all three should have a great shot at singles success when the time comes. That said, I imagine they might run into some trouble come WrestleMania time.

Stevie:
Finally WWE books a stable properly. That's pretty shocking. I've been loving their work and vibe. I assume it's going to take a beating from someone at WrestleMania but it's been a good ride so far.


4) It’s certainly been a big fortnight for Jack Swagger – from introducing a race-baiting mentor in Zeb Coulter, winning the number one contendership, getting arrested for misdemeanour driving and drug offences, and now getting a slice of main stream media attention from Glen Beck. Do you approve what has been done with Swagger since his return? And do you think he’ll still head on to face Alberto Del Rio for the title, or has Swagger blown his big comeback?

Kirsty:
I don't agree with the race-baiting. Obviously it was thought up to rub Alberto Del Rio up the wrong way, but that whole angle is something that should be relegated to the Attitude Era. I know that most people don't take it seriously, but there will be places in the US where the people won't see the funny side.

That said, Swagger definitely needs a mouthpiece. It's ridiculous for someone of his uber-heel status to a) speak with a lisp and b) have mediocre-at-best mic skills.

I don't think that he's main event material and have done so from the moment he won the Elimination Chamber. His recent arrest is another reason for WWE to remove him from the main event, but I never thought he belonged there in the first place and I don't think that Del Rio is strong enough to carry him. It seems unlikely that WWE will change their World Heavyweight Championship plans for WrestleMania, and for that reason that particular main event match is going to fall flat.

Luke:
Swagger's dodging all bullets right now and I think its safe to say that if his screw-ups had not captured the attention of the mainstream media, he would have been on the chopping block. I do enjoy the new gimmick but the real brains behind it is in the Zeb Coulter character - not Swagger. Swagger still couldn't cut a promo to save his life from a pack of angry Mexicans. I feel this is one of those gimmicks that is going to help push WWE into that next era where social commentaries are more evident within the product. But until Swagger screws up again, we can only watch and see how it plays out.

Blake:
Swagger may have screwed up, but he's still going to be at 'Mania. The fact of the matter is that this is a business and, right now, Swagger is moolah, holla holla.

Scott:
I’ve always been a fan of Jack Swagger, but I’ve also acknowledged that he can’t talk. So giving him a mouthpiece is a good idea. And giving him this extremist Tea Party character Zeb Colter as his mouthpiece has worked. Because I now hate Swagger, and want to see him lose. The stuff Colter says upsets me, offends me, and makes me angry at him, and at Swagger for associating with him. So, well done WWE, you’ve got me hating Swagger as a heel – mission accomplished!

I do have my concerns, however, as to where it may go post-Alberto Del Rio – there’s not a lot of other main-event Mexicans at the moment. Either they’ll need to nuance the extremist ranting to turn the focus away from immigration, or Swagger’s character will lose its focus like the last time he held the title.

And as for his arrest? Maybe it might’ve hurt him. But the simultaneous (and unrelated) main stream media attention Colter and Swagger got probably helped save Swagger’s push and WrestleMania match. Swagger owes Glen Beck a beer.

David:
He'll be in the World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania. I know plans have changed before, and they perhaps should if Swagger's going to be going around getting arrested, but Glenn Beck taking issue with Colter and Swagger could have saved the All-American American. Pull him from TV now, and it looks like a reaction to Beck's criticism, which is something WWE certainly doesn't want to do. It's a real shame to see Beck is still relevant, actually.

Zak:
I think the storyline is fairly interesting, if probably a little bit out of date. WWE won't want to sacrifice all of this mainstream media coverage for nothing, so I imagine Swagger will dodge a bullet with this one. He's going to WrestleMania.

Stevie:
Swagger can't talk, so he's long needed a mouthpiece. While I think his look needs updating, I approve of the storyline as a whole. There are crazy people like Zeb out there, so the plot rings true. It's a good foil to the successful immigrant like Alberto. I don't think they need to worry about people taking sides, as they're pretty far off the sanity wagon. Considering America was built on immigration, I think they'll have plenty of opponents in the future too. I don't want to comment on how dumb Jake Hager appears to be in real life, I'd rather focus my thoughts on that video they did where they broke character in the middle. Hilarious and surreal.


5) And, at long last, we have a new WWE Championship. What do you think of the new design? How do you think it rates in terms of the best-looking professional wrestling title belts?

Kirsty:
I don't like it. I don't think that belts should be personalised, and this one has Brahma bulls on the side panels. I think the "W" is too big, and the design itself in terms of the gemstones looks a lot like the previous spinner belt. I'm afraid I'm a bit old school, a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to the title belts. I liked the one Bret Hart/Steve Austin/Shawn Michaels etc wore.

Luke:
It looks like a giant Championship ring. Personally, its not my taste as I am more traditional with my belt designs but I like it more than the Spinner belt.

Blake:
God, I miss the Undisputed Championship design. Why are WWE doing this? From over-complication to over-simplification; I don't approve.

Scott:
My first response was “Judge Dredd bling.” It is better than the spinner belt, but still looks too much like a toy, or something from a comic rather than a championship belt. But, I guess by now I just have to shrug and realise that despite my love for WWE, some of their design aesthetics are completely lost on me. See also trunks instead of tights and the constant of post-grunge music.

David:
I'm not that impressed with the new belt. Wrestling fans, right? They ask for change, then they get the change and they're still not happy. I was fine with the spinner belt around John Cena's waist though, and we're on track for a Cena victory at WrestleMania so it could have stayed as it was for a month or so and gone back to looking normal enough. This new title's a bit simplistic. So is the World Heavyweight Championship, I suppose, but in a timeless way. This one, not so much.

Zak:
It's certainly better than the spinner belt, but it still feels a little too 'Rock' if you know what I mean. I'm not a big fan of personalised belts, especially on faces. Could you imagine Anderson Silva debuting a new UFC Middleweight belt with spiders all over it? No, that would be totally disrespectful.

Stevie:
Saying it's 'better than the Spinner' is a nothing statement, as that toy was hideous. But this one isn't much better. It's simplistic and lacking any real style to it. They say Mattel helped with the design? Must have taken ages to come up with "Just put a big logo on it. And... uh... diamonds?"

Saturday, April 19
- WWE Raw (10.15am, the BOX)

Sunday, April 20
- WWE Raw (3.45pm, the BOX)

- WWE Main Event (6.15pm, the BOX)

- WWE SmackDown (7.05pm, the BOX)

- WWE Main Event (11.50pm, the BOX)

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