How unimaginable is it that another year has passed? Even more unreal is that this year is the fifth annual installment of The J\/\/ Awards, celebrating the best in wrestling memorabilia over the past twelve months. Each year the design of "The Joshie" changes, but it is always "based" upon a classic wrestling figure or collectible. This year, the award could go flying through the air with a 747 splash or even magically transform into a dancing, yellow and blue clad, African Dream! The design isn't the only change in 2014, with one award being retired and another one born. The wrestling world as a whole has seen a lot of change this year, from the way that some of the product is presented to losing some of its most memorable names. Without further ado, let the awards begin!
2014 Best Figure
Mattel's WWE Wyatt Family
win "The Joshie" for 2014 Best Figure(s). For the second year in a row, a trio of figures take this one home. In contrast to last years winners, each figure here is very different in appearance. Though the Elite versions of the boys were chosen due to their accessories, each release of Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan have been great efforts by Mattel. That being said, the accessories are almost as great as the figures themselves. With all three members of the family embarking on their own paths, it will be interesting to see where they go, both in WWE and on store shelves, in 2015.
2014 Best Buy (Non-Figure)
wins "The Joshie" for 2014 Best Buy. For whatever reason that you may have subscribed, you automatically got the best deal of 2014. If you haven't yet subscribed, we may have to bring back the "Turnbuckle Turkey" award for you. Sure there are deserved criticisms, but that comes with the territory. You can pick just about any one thing from the Network and justify $9.99 per month. The current pay-per-view live? Yep, that's worth $9.99. Four or five NXT episodes a month? Yep, that's worth $9.99. On-Demand access to the WWE, WCW, and ECW pay-per-view libraries? Yep, that's worth...ok...enough of the commercial. But it's true. It's a Helluva deal and should only get bigger and better as time goes on.
2014 Best Product Line
wins "The Joshie" for 2014 Best Product Line. Longtime readers know that when Mattel first started churning out WWE product, I was less than impressed. Poor lineups, poor distribution, poor creativity, and that God-awful red packaging design. Things have changed for the better and for the third time, Mattel takes home the gold. Although there's always room for improvement (could we get that Magnum TA?), 2015 already looks like a very good year. Come on, we're getting Bayley! What could be better than that? A Bayley hug, perhaps, but the figure will be almost as cool.
2014 Future Holy Grail
NECA's The Simpsons Bret Hart Figure
wins "The Joshie" for 2014 Future Holy Grail. I've already said a lot about this figure, but I really can't say enough. It combines The Simpsons and wrestling into one great collectible. It captures a moment when a wrestler, who despite having a huge fanbase never truly crossed over into the mainstream, became a part of animated pop culture. Thanks to that crossover appeal, the figure flew off of shelves as soon as it hit. A New York Comic Con version has proven to be equally as popular. Bret Hart. The Simpsons. Action figures. It's a great recipe that should stand the test of time.
Normally our awards end with the "Future Holy Grail." You may have noticed the absence of the "Best Publication" award which usually went to books or magazines. As of 2015, Pro Wrestling Illustrated will be the only remaining U.S. wrestling magazine and although there are some great authors churning out amazing wrestling books, I just do not have the time and resources to be objective and read them all. Thus, "Best Publication" has been retired. However, in the spirit of PWI's year-end "Editors Award," this year we introduce our "Thanks For The Memories" honor. Since this blog celebrates "The Best in Wrestling Memorabilia & Memories" on a weekly basis, this award will focus on the latter. The winner can be a person (living or dead) or concept that somehow made all of us fondly recall wrestling's past in the last twelve months.
2014 Thanks For The Memories Award
2014 Thanks For The Memories Honoree: The Ultimate Warrior
. Electrifying. Entertaining. Controversial. Just three words that could be used to describe the man known as The Ultimate Warrior. A generation of kids grew up mystified by him. While Hulk Hogan was the clean cut hero, the Warrior brought a bit of an edge and a whole lot of mystery. Just where did he run off to every night after beating Rick Rude, Andre the Giant, or Randy Savage? Where was Parts Unknown? Who were these skeletons and why did they make a sacrifice? Sure, we could all envision the other WWF "good guys" going to hang out after the matches, but Warrior seemed different. He was. We had never seen anything like him before, nor will we ever again. Thanks for the memories, Warrior.
And thanks to all of you for once again keeping with the blog throughout the year. I appreciate each and every one of you. Whether you come up and say hi at a show or simply shoot me an e-mail, those are my awards. Those people and moments remind me why I've loved wrestling for all of these years. Thank you!