Rocco has had a lot of tough competition this year as OVW Heavyweight Champion, but one of the toughest matches he had was with Mitch at OVW Anarchy. It was a Falls Count Anywhere match that saw Mitch fall victim to the Plungetown sign and a fall from the balcony. Mitch put up a valiant effort, but an Athlete's Foot and even Rocco's own Plunge being used against him couldn't put the Show Stealer away.
It was a tough call as bodies were put on the line in both of the aforementioned matches. War Games saw 10 men (Rev. Stuart Miles, Big Jon, Hy Zaya, Tony Gunn, Bud Dwight, Dapper Dan Van Zandt, Mad Man Pondo, Adam Revolver, Robbie Walker, & Tyler Matrix) go at it where the winner(s) of the match would get a match of their choosing. It was Rev. Stu who found a higher power to help him submit Hy Zaya and be sole survivor. He would take the opportunity to face Rocco Bellagio for the OVW Heavyweight Title at SNS Reckoning on September 3 in a Stairway to Heaven match, but came up short in his quest for the company's top prize. At OVW 900, Trevor Steele's TV Title was hanging from the roof of the Davis Arena as Steele, Diamond, Tony Gunn, Robbie Walker, Justin Smooth, & Tyler Matrix all tried to climb to victory in a 6-man ladder match scramble. In the end, "the Young Lion" Matrix was able to scurry up the ladder and retrieve the title to become a 2-time TV Champion and is still the current champion as we speak.
Most Improved Superstar: TYLER MATRIX
As soon as Matrix arrived on the scene in OVW, I said that he had amazing potential. It didn't take long for "The Young Lion" to step his game up each and every week and become one of the most improved superstars of 2016. He was a #1 contender for both the OVW Southern Tag Team Titles and the OVW Heavyweight Title twice. Although he didn't win either of those championships, he became OVW Television Champion twice and is currently holding that very title. Right now, he is feuding with Jade Dawson, but we see Matrix as a top star in OVW in 2017.
Josh Ashcraft started the Legacy of Brutality with Big Zo on June 22. A few weeks later on July 13 as Zo was feuding with Trevor Steele, Hy Zaya emerged as the second piece of Josh's wrecking crew. They would continue to feud with Steele & Houdini, while also picking fights with referees, cameramen, and announcers. It was on August 10 that Big Jon stepped up, tired of the Legacy's antics, and challenged Zo. This would be the beginning of a feud that saw the Legacy of Brutality become OVW Southern Tag Team Champions, while feuding with Big Jon and numerous partners. Jon teamed with Tyler Matrix and Houdini, but after Houdini was taken out, Elijah Burke showed up to team with Big Jon and win the titles from the L.O.B. on OVW 900. Elijah was taken out that same night, but the feud continued with Big Jon and the L.O.B. Justin Smooth became Jon's partner and the L.O.B. also added a member in Ca$h Flo, who has been a thorn in their side in recent weeks.
Matrix found himself in the middle of two betrayals in 2016. First, his girlfriend Torey Payne slammed a cage door in his face at War Games, aligning herself with Robbie Walker. She claimed Matrix did not care for her the way Robbie did. Matrix had accidentally speared her through a wooden board a few weeks earlier and accidentally kicked her in the head a few weeks before that in matches and encounters all involving Robbie.
Then, Dean Hill took a mini-vacation to scout new talent and left Trevor Steele in charge while he was away. The power quickly went to Steele's head, and after Matrix had successfully defended the OVW TV Title against Robbie Walker once again, Steele ambushed him from behind and called for a referee to pin and make him the new TV Champion. Steele would continue abusing his power and went on to say he wouldn't defend the TV Title on a weekly basis as is tradition, until Dean Hill returned a couple weeks later to take back control.
Although recently taken under the wing of Rev. Stuart Miles, the former "mutt" of the Van Zandt Family Circus could use some grooming. With some wild and crazy hair, there's no telling what all might be inside of it!
OVWmania isn't sure why Robbie is the "King of Hairstyle", we mean rainbow colored pigtails? Really, Robbie? And as for Josh, we think he might have gotten his faux-hawk done by Stevie Wonder. Of course, we won't tell him that with the massive Big Zo or mean and nasty Ca$h Flo around.
Tag Team of the Year: "THE TAG BUDDIES": REV. STUART MILES & ADAM REVOLVER
Two men with two very different backgrounds, but they were able to come together and be the best tag team in OVW for a large part of 2016. Stu believes in God, Adam is an atheist, but they were able to buddy up and win the OVW Southern Tag Team Titles on 2 different occasions. They were able to defeat the Band of Brothaz (General Pope & Private Anthony) on February 10 for their first reign. They would be champions for 3 months until feuding with the Bad Boys Club (Randy Royal & Shane Andrews) and losing the titles to them on May 14. The Bad Boys Club tried to permanently put Stu out of action by hanging him over the top rope with a noose, but the Tag Buddies would take the titles back from them a month later on June 22 for their second reign. They would lose the titles on July 27 to the Van Zandt Family Circus, and would then break up after Stu won War Games and went after the OVW Heavyweight Title on his own, angering Adam.
Superstar of the Year: ROCCO BELLAGIO
Rocco is not a fan favorite for most, but there is no denying the year that Rocco had. He won the OVW Heavyweight Title on May 14, and is still holding it as he tries to become the longest-reigning OVW Champion in history. (As of December 28, he has held the title for 228 days. The previous longest-reigning champion Jamin Olivencia held the title for 241 days.) He has lived up to being the "Show Stealer", defeating the likes of Big Jon, Mitch Huff, Tyler Matrix, Daniel Eads, Rudy Switchblade, Rev. Stuart Miles, Diamond, Chris Silvio, & Randy Royal, sending most of his opponents to Plungetown. He faces another tough challenge at the first SNS of 2017 on January 7. Can he defeat Justin Smooth & Big Jon in a triple threat match? If so, he will be 3 days away from matching the record of longest reign on that night!
Jon had a taste of all the gold in OVW in 2016. On March 5, he became TV Champion by defeating Devin Driscoll. Then on April 16, he defeated Rocco Bellagio to become OVW Heavyweight Champion. He was a double champion, but vacated the TV Title since he had obligations as Heavyweight Champion. He would lose the title to Rocco, but since then found himself feuding with Josh Ashcraft's Legacy of Brutality. He tried teaming with Houdini, then found himself aligned with Elijah Burke for OVW 900, where they would win the OVW Southern Tag Team Titles, only for the Legacy to take Elijah out of action. Jon was prepared to be a one-man tag champion, when he found a former enemy Justin Smooth show up in his corner and align himself with the big man. Jon & Smooth seem to be on the same page, but will that change as they head into the first SNS of 2017 as opponents in a triple threat match for the Heavyweight Title against Rocco?
Will 2017 be even better than 2016? Keep your eyes open, because you never know what moments you see could be one of the best moments of 2017! We hope you enjoyed the OVWmania Year-End Awards as we took a trip down memory lane of some of the best moments and superstars that OVW had to offer. Do you agree or disagree with any of the picks? Let us know in the comments below, and we'll see you next year!