Angle Of The Year – HOWIE Awards 2020

Our second HOWIE award celebrates the best angle of 2020 in AEW, WWE, NXT, NJPW etc. Read our writer’s picks and choose your winner.

Angle Of The Year

Welcome to the first annual HOWIE Awards – celebrating the very best in wrestling in 2020. Read our writers picks and vote on an overall winner.

For our second award we have asked our team to create a shortlist for the angle of the year.

Over December we will be presenting our staff writers choices for ten different awards in association with Wrestle Merch Central. At the same time we will offer you, our readers, the chance to vote on your pick from our shortlist. At the same time, we hope you offer your alternatives via Twitter. Join the conversation by tagging us on @HO_Wrestling and using the hashtag #HOWIES20.

You can see the already announced categories to review and vote HERE. We will announce the overall reader voted winners on New Years Day.

Paul Benson, Hooked On Wrestling Tribal Chief

Shortlist Pick: Adam Cole appears on the Pat McAfee Show

Credit: The Pat McAfee Show

At the start of the year, who would have pegged former NFL star Pat McAfee as one of the breakout wrestling stars of 2020? Not I said the fly. It was time for the Undisputed Era to get that long craved face run this year but to turn a group of conniving heels babyface, you need an even more loathsome antagonist: Enter McAfee.

His sleazy, arrogant, entitled, rich outsider character was perfect to oppose Cole who was defending wrestlers everywhere from this outsider. The angle grew incredibly organically from Cole’s appearance on McAfee’s YouTube show, through to ‘the kick’, their TakeOver 30 match and then War Games. It really was exceptional stuff that began with that kayfabe bending angle in the TV studio.

Chris Hatch, Hooked On Wrestling Editor

Shortlist Pick: Pat McAfee targets The Undisputed Era

How do you go about turning one of the most hated factions in NXT into babyfaces? Well, pretty easily if you have a heel as loathsome as Pat McAfee to go up against them.

None of us saw this coming. We assumed McAfee was just another name with bit of ‘real’ sports credibility that WWE wanted to hitch their wagon too. It turns out he is basically a heel god as he managed to talk his way under the skin of both the Undisputed Era and the NXT fanbase. The build from worked-shoot on his YouTube show, through to War Games via an exceptional match with Adam Cole at TakeOver XXX was lovingly old school in its pacing and its story beats. Everything made sense, everything was exciting and everything led to where every good wrestling story should. Pat McAfee being physically destroyed and soundly beaten by our new heroes. A moment that felt truly earned and will likely go down as the swansong for the best faction in NXT (And maybe all of wrestling), the Undisputed Era.

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Cameron Bennett, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor

Shortlist Pick: The Firefly Funhouse ‘match’ at WrestleMania 36

Credit: WWE

Okay, this was technically a match but was it? Was it really a match? I say no and it’s my choice so I make the rules so there! This was a beautiful character assassination and dissection of, for all intents and purposes, Mr. WWE.

Mr. McBossman shouting ‘This is such good SHIT’ was just the icing on a very surreal cake.

Chris Napier, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor

Shortlist Pick: Roman Reigns – Head Of The Table

Roman Reigns & Paul Heyman
Credit: WWE

The SmackDown main event scene was moribund, Braun Strowman had proven ultimately quite dull as champion and we all knew that the Fiend getting the belt for any length of time was not a good thing either. Then Roman Reigns comes back, with a new persona that plays off both his lineage and the best elements of his presentation in the Shield and it feels like we’ve got a real main event champion at the helm again.

The angle that then developed with Jey Uso added to both men’s characters and looks to be the heart of SmackDown through the foreseeable future.

Liam Happe, Hooked On Wrestling Features Editor

Shortlist Pick: MJF brings down 10 lashes on Cody Rhodes’ back

Credit: AEW

When MJF, fresh off betraying mentor Cody and in the midst of denying Rhodes a 1-on-1 grudge match, named the stipulations for what it would take to get him to agree to a fight, I was skeptical that they would amount to anything other than generic time-filling TV segments. However Friedman, Rhodes and everyone else involved from Dustin Rhodes to Arn Anderson to Wardlow to the surprise appearance of Brandi, absolutely knocked this one out of the park. Cody had to take 10 strikes from a leather strap from his toxic protege or else forfeit the PPV bout. Each hit developed the story, each selljob from Cody intensified and really conveyed how they mount up. The old-school brutality and the gradual layers of emotion on this one were something else.

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Ash Rose, Editor, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor

Shortlist Pick: Alexa Bliss & The Fiend create an unholy alliance

Credit: WWE

As someone who thinks Alexa Bliss is the most underrated Superstar of the women’s revolution I’m so pleased to see the plaudits she’s getting for her transformation into Bray’s warped world. The Fiend schtick was just starting to become a little bit tired and formulaic – some of which was of down to the booking – but adding Bliss to the fun has completely changed the dynamic of the character and made the duo must see. Perhaps, most exciting is that I have no idea where it goes from here, but I can’t wait to watch and find out. Alexa is such a star, such a star.

James Dee, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor

Shortlist Pick: The Firefly Funhouse ‘match’ at WrestleMania 36

Look if I put this as Match of the Year you would all have shouted at me, so I caved and put it here because it deserves recognition.

This match had everything you could never have dared dream for, I’ve written paragraphs upon paragraphs extolling the virtues of this match to my friends and dammit now you’re going to read them too.

Hey.. Wait.. Come back! Fine, you win, I’ll keep it brief.

This match was a complete deconstruction of John Cena, his character and all it stands for. It starts with his origins in the “Ruthless Aggression” days and works through to his rumoured refusal to lose to the hottest thing in the business when he fought Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania. Cena is psychologically broken down in a way 27 German Suplexes could never do, Cena’s fears of inadequacy and irrelevancy are used as barbed weapons, until Cena realises that he isn’t what he dreamt of being. Young John Cena wanted to be a wrestler, now he doesn’t know what he is, but it sure as hell ain’t a wrestler, John Cena put “an end to the most overhyped, overvalued, overprivileged WWE superstar in existence” and that’s when The Fiend puts him down. Sister Abigail, Mandible Claw for the pin. See I told you it was a match.

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Justin Czerwonka, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor

Shortlist Pick: Roman Reigns – Head Of The Table

Roman Reigns has been absolutely killing it since his return to the WWE this year. And this new pairing with Paul Heyman has been better than anything Heyman did with Brock Lesnar. The dynamic between Reigns and Heyman is different. But pairing Heyman with Reigns ensured that Reigns would be looked upon as a heel on his return. They work so great together that I hope it continues when fans come back into the arenas.

Gary Tait, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor

Shortlist Pick: Alexa Bliss & The Fiend create an unholy alliance

The fiend and Alexa Bliss angle is simply great storytelling. The slow build to the angle and now Bliss is doing some of her best work on WWE TV. I am invested and for that reason, it wins.

Lewis Brown, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor

Shortlist Pick: The downfall of ‘Hangman’ Page

Credit: AEW

We still haven’t seen the payoff of this angle which is what long-term storytelling done right looks like. To fully appreciate this, you need to be following Being The Elite on YouTube, but if you do, you’d see the slow build to eventual fall-out of The Elite and Hangman’s expulsion from the group. I cannot wait for his inevitable comeback where I’m sure he is going to beat Omega for the World Title.

This poll is no longer accepting votes

What was the best angle of 2020?

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