Off the ropes: The best of the WWE in ’02

Martin Downey, Features Writer

Well, another crazy year of wrestling is just about up. Who would have thought that the nWo would come and go, Hulk Hogan would come back with such popularity and Shawn Michaels would wrestle again.

This year has seen “The Next Big Thing” make it big and Stone Cold Steve Austin walking out on the WWE. Even the name changed from WWF to WWE. The times they are a changin.’

From the comfort of my living room and occasionally live from an arena, I have seen it all this year. With that, I thought that I would throw my two cents in and hand out a few awards for the men and women who entertain me every week.

Best Diva: Stacy Keibler-Translation: hottest. Her music says it all: “She’s got legs. She knows how to use them.” Now aligned with Test, Stacy is showing she can entertain as well as show her assets.

Best Woman Wrestler: Trish Stratus- Trish gets better every time I see her in the ring. She came into the WWE as a super model type, but she has proven she has what it takes in the ring.

Biggest Disappointment: Stone Cold Steve Austin- How can the biggest star in the WWE just walk out on the company? There are talks of a return, but nothing is close to definite.

Tag Team of the Year: Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle-Possibly the two most talented wrestlers in the WWE combined. These guys win matches despite fighting each other half of the time. A world title is only a matter of time.

Most Heart: Tommy Dreamer-He may not be the most popular superstar on the roster, but the man has had 16 concussions in his career and keeps on going because it is what he likes to do.

Most Fun to Watch: Rey Mysterio Jr.-This guy has a new move every match and is faster than anybody. He also has the best entrance.

Most Improved: Edge-Edge has stepped it up this year and proved he can hang with the big boys. I hope that he will get a world championship in the new year.

Rookie of the Year: Brock Lesnar-Well that’s a tough pick. Lesnar has steam rolled everyone and was world champion.

Breakout Star of 2003: Batista-This man has scary strength and could easily follow in Lesnar’s footsteps.

Most Underrated: Eddie Guerrero-Many people may think he is just a mid-card wrestler, but I think he has what it takes to rise to the next level.

Match of the Year: Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels (Summerslam)-HBK’s first match in four years and he didn’t lose a step. It didn’t hurt that he was in there with “The Game” either. It was brutal, breathtaking and emotional.

Biggest Shock: Eric Bischoff announced as Raw General Manager-Who would have thought that Vince McMahon would hire and then hug his former real life business rival. What’s more surprising is how good of a performer Bischoff has been.

Superstar of the Year: Kurt Angle-He may not be the champ right now, but he does it all. He can entertain and wrestle better than anyone, and whether fans like to admit it or not, Kurt Angle does not suck.

It’s true.

It’s true.