We are halfway through 2015, and what an exciting year it has been for Big West Wrestling. Several new faces have become prominent fixtures on the roster; while several veterans continue to prove they have what it takes to not only survive, but thrive! Year-end awards are still many months away, but here’s some early front-runners to think about:
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: SHOTGUN STEVENS
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Hellion, all three members of NexGen
Quite often in Big West, the Newcomer Of The Year isn’t a rookie…hence the wording of the award: without it’s own school, Big West relies on outside talent more often than not. But as 2014 drew to a close, a true local rookie surprised everyone by putting on a thrilling debut match with Collin Cutler: Shotgun Stevens. Trained by Lance Storm, Stevens has quickly excelled in Big West, putting on highly competitive singles matches with Adam Ryder, Krofton and Mike Shreddz, while making a dominant tag team with Cutler. The recent addition of Mike Rizzo, in a managerial role, makes Stevens even more deadly as the year progresses…as shown by his nearly winning the Big West Title from Shreddz just last month!
TAG TEAM OF THE YEAR: too close to call…
Statistically, the two duos that have had the most success thus far are the “Team Thrash” combo of Michael More & Slave, along with the #TooSweet tandem of Mad Dog & Sugar Shane; the only problem is that we’re not sure if EITHER team will still be together by year’s end, due to their propensity of fighting amongst themselves! Meanwhile, Adult Social Society (Stevens/Cutler) and NexGen (Justin Alexander & Nick Radford) continue to impress, while embroiled in a bitter feud. And let’s not forgot the Voros Twins will be back in August, along with the debuting young Good Brothers!
FEUD OF THE YEAR: another close one…
Earlier in the year, it looked like the Shreddz/Bishop feud was going to light the Okanagan on fire; but scheduling conflicts and injuries have unfortunately caused Bishop to cancel several scheduled appearances in Big West. In the meantime, the House of Hell and “Team Thrash” have been violently battling each other, as have Adult Social Society and NexGen. And let’s not forget the love/hate relationship between the scuffling cousins: Sugar Shane and “Mad Dog” Marty Sugar. How will the addition of the Okanagan-Interior Title affect their teamwork…or lack thereof?
MATCH OF THE YEAR: SHREDDZ vs. SHOTGUN (June 19)
At SICK OF YOU II, Shotgun Stevens found himself with his first-ever career title shot; and with the scheming Mike Rizzo in his corner, it looked like that first chance wasn’t going to be wasted. The only thing Stevens and Rizzo didn’t count on, was the support of the Shreddiez…and the heart of a champion. Without question, Shreddz and Shotgun tore into each other like the proud young lions they are; but despite their collective “youth” in the ring, they put on a match of epic proportions. Both men were swinging for the fences from the opening bell to the surprising finish, and Shreddz surely had his toughest challenge to date. Other solid contenders for “MOTY” are the K5 Ladder Match from REACH FOR THE SKY (January 16), a showdown between Adam Ryder and Black Dragon from HURTS SO GOOD IV (March 20), and the NexGen/Society six-person battle from IT’S ALL ABOUT RESPECT IV (April 17).
WRESTLER OF THE YEAR: MIKE SHREDDZ
Currently, nobody has had more success in Big West than the reigning Big West Champion: first-ever K5 Medallion winner in January … won the Big West Title in February … regained the title in April … multiple “MOTY” candidates with the likes of Bishop, Shotgun Stevens, and Ravenous Randy … one of only a handful of B.C. wrestlers to even APPLY for Tough Enough … took part in Tony Condello‘s infamous Northern Hell Tour … has traveled more miles this year than any other wrestler in the Okanagan … the list is already a long one. Shreddz is only in his second year in the business, but his dedication to training and to getting himself out there for multiple wrestling promotions has resulted in an accelerated learning curve. Can Shreddz maintain his iron grip on the Big West Title, and cement his 2015 legacy? He’s got some tough challenges ahead of him, that’s for sure!
Meanwhile, we would be remiss if we didn’t at the very least give an Honorable Mention to the success of Adam Ryder, who is collecting belts in every promotion not named Big West. Only time will tell if that championship doesn’t get added to his collection before 2015 draws to a close. Also, let’s not forget Collin Cutler, with his guaranteed Big West Title shot in September: he’s proven lately that he is NOT to be taken lightly.