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The Henries: Smark Henry's Official Midyear Awards, Part 1

We’re well into the second half of 2015, with six months of wrestling firmly behind us. It’s an exciting time to be a wrestling fan, with this year bringing having quite the number of memorable events. We here at the Smark Henry offices convened to discuss the state of professional wrestling in the world halfway through the year, so you, reader, will know who we’ve recognized so far.

Rising from that discussion, we give you: the Henries!

Simply put, the Henries are Smark Henry’s midyear awards. The main end-of-year awards will still be the SGP Awards, with the only difference being that the Henries are the result of careful deliberation among the people involved with Smark Henry, from editors to contributors. The SGP Awards will still be by the vote of the people.

Without further ado, let’s begin the inaugural edition of the Henries!

We know, we know—everyone will argue, including and especially Kevin Owens himself, that it’s hard to be a rookie after more than 10 years in the business. But what makes a rookie in this context is simple: you have to be a newcomer in a big pond, so it’s really more Newcomer of the Year than Rookie of the Year.

Needless to say, it’s easy to justify why Kevin Owens is running away with this one. Winning the NXT Championship on the first try, and not only moving up, but quickly establishing himself on the main roster as a guy to not book in terrible matches or storylines with in a handful of months, without even mentioning the fact that he’s had barn-burners on both stages already; what more do you want us to tell you? We haven’t seen a monster rookie year since, I don’t know, maybe Brock Lesnar in 2002 or Sheamus in 2009.

There are so many people you can name for this award, as people improve all the time, but in the interest of fairness we have to give it to Roman Reigns.

He’s gone from being a punchline at the beginning of the year to a guy whom you could trust to have at least a decent match with. He’s figured out the key to making it in the biggest wrestling promotion in the world: it doesn’t matter how many moves you can do as long as you can execute what you know in the most exciting way possible. Roman’s learned how to pace himself and bring the energy at all moments, whether he’s establishing dominance or igniting his comeback. The truth is the energy is where the drama is, and the drama is where the interest is.

Now he just needs to figure out how to best deliver his lines.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

At the beginning of the year, Damien Sandow—then still Damien Mizdow—was building up momentum for an eventual split from partner/boss the Miz in a storyline that had a lot of potential to springboard Sandow into a nice singles run at the midcard. He broke up with the Miz at the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania Play Button in a well-received moment, but lost the feud from there.

What’s worse is they have him cut a heartfelt promo vowing that he’d be himself from now on… and then proceeds to imitate Macho Man Randy Savage around two weeks later and aligns himself with bargain-bin Hulk Hogan, Curtis Axel. The Ascension (rightfully) beat them at Payback, and… well, if the Ascension beats you and it’s a good move, that should say a lot.

Maybe it’s just best to leave, Damien. Looks like they don’t want you here.

On the real: this could be anyone. It could be Roman Reigns, who’s steadily improving, or it could be Kevin Owens, whose star is still on the rise.

But when you’ve got a guy who’s making waves in Ring of Honor—one of the hardest places to get over, especially for a guy who just came from football and is playing in a field of agile high-flyers and strikers—and is already getting a look from WWE because of it, you should all be paying attention. Quinn “Moose” Ojinnaka has won people over due to his size and ridiculous agility, reminding people of a young Bobby Lashley.

Moose may or may not turn out to be the bee’s knees, but he’s the real definition of Wrestler to Watch Out For.

Let’s take you back to about four months ago. At that time, Seth Rollins was still Mr. Money in the Bank and Roman Reigns was the #1 contender to Brock Lesnar’s WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Roman was already a shoo-in to defeat Brock for the title, but the most optimistic of us held out hope that Rollins would actually cash in his Money in the Bank contract after Roman wins the title from Reigns.

What actually happened was even better because Seth Rollins set a new precedent for the MITB cash-in by invoking his title match in the middle of an ongoing match. I can’t believe that nobody’s ever thought of this over the last ten years. With all the creative geniuses in WWE, I wonder if anybody actually thought of this years ago, only for Vince or Stephanie or Trips to stash the idea for the perfect character to use it.

Whatever the circumstances, we at the Smark Henry offices were glad as hell that they used it for Seth Rollins, because that cash-in at WrestleMania was one hell of a moment. It was even more special for us Pinoy fans who saw it together at Skinny Mike’s Sports Bar live. Hell, the video of all of us marking out went viral and even made it to! Here it is in its entirety:


That's the first wave of awards in! In the meantime, what do you think of our midyear awardees? Do you agree, or would you have given some of these awards to someone else? Let us know in the comments section below!


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