Report from the Fort: Best Newcomer

As Rae mentioned in her Best Newcomer award, we’re eschewing the lure of the country show with its home-made preserves and tombola stalls. Rather, we’ve kicked off our shoes, slipped into our favourite pyjamas and took up residence in the pillow fort section of the Wrestlegasm Bunker to discuss this years winners. I’ll miss the excellent scones we got to sample last year, but crumbs and pillow forts don’t really mix anyway…

We struggled trying to find a recipient for Best Newcomer this year, and while I’m quite ashamed to say that Archibald Peck completely slipped my mind until just now, we ended up looking to FCW for our winner and the graphic’s been made up now and everything. Sorry about that Archie.

The trouble is, this year just hasn’t been one for newcomers. For all of Punk’s rhetoric about the winds of change moving through the landscape of the WWE, the “debuts” of 2011 tended to be returns such as Kevin Nash, Booker T, The Rock and HHH. Over in FCW however, along with Wrestlegasm favourite Claudio Castagnoli, the erstwhile Jon Moxley debuted as Dean Ambrose and quickly became a bit of an internet sensation after feuding with Seth “Tyler Black” Rollins, CM Punk and, most notably, William Regal.

After a debut interview in which he epitomised the word “grubby” and put a huge smile on Regal’s face, he went on to have a trilogy of matches with Seth Rollins, culminating in a great 30 minute effort showcasing two of the indie talents that have made it into developmental.

Following on from his Rollins feud, and a chance to challenge CM Punk at another FCW show, Ambrose moved onto Regal and the two of them brought the best out of each other, both in promos and in the following match in which Regal finally gets to be himself in the ring again.

In a promotion where the majority of the talent are still trying to find a personality beyond “tanned muscley bloke” Ambrose stands out as the greasy-haired kid from the dodgy estate that you always felt would get you in serious trouble one day. He’s got a great future ahead of him, and we’re very happy to present him this award – probably his first of many.

Honourable Mention: goes to Mason Ryan. Can you guess who might have decided on this one? Much like the interstellar radiation still detectable from the big bang, I’m sure that in the furthest recesses of the Bunker you can still hear the faint echoes of the immense squeal let out by Boss Lady Rae when she saw this photo on a Tuesday morning last January.

While it would be extremely generous to say that Ryan has set the WWE alight with his in ring prowess and fly-away hair, never underestimate the power of local bias. My love for Regal is no secret, and the same goes for Rae and her homeboy from the ‘Diff. As for me, I’m always happy to see more UK wrestlers getting a break in the US, and I’m still hopeful for Barri (as we in the know call him) to improve and become better in the ring as time goes by.

PS I’m well aware that, much like last year, neither of these guys are actually “newcomers” having had careers over the last few years, but for the sake of the awards, we’re taking major company debuts as counting