The Wrestling Observer Newsletter readers just voted for the forty-third year on their favorites and least favorites in a variety of categories, and not surprisingly, AEW and the wrestlers it employs did quite well. Headman Tony Khan won Best Booker and Best Promoter. FTR won Best Tag Team and MJF won Best Interviews, among several other victories for the upstate promotion. Longtime wrestling manager and popular talking head Jim Cornette, of course, had plenty to say about most of the choices, but he saved his full venom for Jon Moxley, who was given the Lou Thesz/ Ric Flair Award for Wrestler Of The Year.
Cornette, who is never shy with his opinions, was told about the surprise choice while recording his podcast by co-host Brian Last, and he was not a happy camper. He unloaded about how both Thesz and Flair would never want to be compared to Moxley. He chided Moxley for working so many matches with “barbed wire and knives and blood and blades” and for teaching the younger wrestlers to do things the wrong way. And then he unloaded on Moxley himself with a really aggressive personal attack. Here’s a portion of his quote…
Now, I think it’s important to separate the conversation here into two different parts: whether Moxley should have won Wrestler Of The Year and Moxley’s work as a wrestler in general. I agree with Cornette that Moxley had no business winning the top award, just as Khan had no business winning Best Promoter given AEW's well-documented issues and lack of growth.
Roman Reigns is so far and away the biggest attraction right now in wrestling it’s crazy, and it’s not like he’s Hulk Hogan in 1993. The last year has been the absolute peak for Roman Reigns from a storyline standpoint and a fan response standpoint. I think he deserves all the flowers, while Moxley, as Cornette also points out, is just one of several top guys in his promotion. I could see him maybe getting some top ten votes, but it's confusing, at least to me, to put him higher.
That being said, calling Jon Moxley “an embarrassment” is way too far for me, given he’s one of the most popular guys on the roster of the second most popular wrestling promotion. He’s had an incredible amount of success in the two largest wrestling companies in North America (given his run as Dean Ambrose in WWE), and there are clearly a ton of fans who identify with what he’s doing. The goal is to get over with the crowd, not get over with Jim Cornette. And he’s clearly done that, even if his head wounds and semi-frequent use of foreign objects isn’t for everyone.
The great thing about wrestling, however, is that it’s a big tent. Not every match on the card is supposed to appeal to everyone, and not every character is going to play the same amount of well to each fan. Clearly Cornette isn’t a Jon Moxley supporter, but as the voting shows, there are plenty who read The Observer who are.
You can check out all the awards over at The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, as well as Dave Meltzer's take, and you can catch Cornette wherever you get your podcasts and/ or on YouTube, where his videos are conveniently spliced out by subject matter.
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Mack Rawden is the Editor-In-Chief of CinemaBlend. He first started working at the publication as a writer back in 2007 and has held various jobs at the site in the time since including Managing Editor, Pop Culture Editor and Staff Writer. He now splits his time between working on CinemaBlend’s user experience, helping to plan the site’s editorial direction and writing passionate articles about niche entertainment topics he’s into. He graduated from Indiana University with a degree in English (go Hoosiers!) and has been interviewed and quoted in a variety of publications including Digiday. Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, a great wrestling promo and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.