Someone sent me a question about Erik Watts this morning, which led me to check Wikipedia to see what he was up to now (answer: nothing in particular), and I was reminded that in fact he won the PWI Rookie of the Year award in 1992. Now, this was interesting to me, because PWI had a few solid choices, but there’s some far more interesting misses in the list.
Obviously this was an awesome pick and the case where the winner really did go on to become the giant star they forecasted. El Gigante…eh, I guess he did about as well as he was going to. Brad Anderson, not so much. Chris Chavis went on to become Tatanka, but obviously Austin was the big one here. Observer award winner: Austin.
Lightning Kid was of course the one who went on to become the biggest star by far, although Badd certainly had the look and charisma so you would have thought that he was the can’t miss prospect. Certainly not a silly choice or anything. The Patriot did OK for himself, although calling him a rookie here is ridiculous since Wilkes was already in the AWA as the Trooper for years before getting the mask. That’s kayfabe for ya. Terri Power was Tori, but hardly a candidate for this award. Observer award winner: Badd as well.
Hindsight says that DDP should have won, but that was far from a sure thing at the time. Watts is still a ridiculous choice regardless. Koloff and Chaz (who was in Pedicino’s Global promotion that was getting so much play in PWI for reasons unknown) are so non-notable that they don’t even have their own Wikipedia pages. I don’t think there was any legitimate rookie contenders to choose from in the kayfabe sense, but even so DDP should have won. Observer award winner: Rey Mysterio Jr. Wow, was he 12 or something?
Hmm, Gangrel and Cole Twins? Robbie Eagle went on to become The Maestro in WCW, but this is a pretty sad year otherwise. Observer award winner: Some Japanese guy named Jun Akiyama. He did pretty well for himself, I guess.
Really, 911? This is like the all-ECW crew, since Abbudah Singh went on to become Ballz Mahoney. Bob Holly is the clear pick out of this bunch, although Whipwreck would have played into kayfabe better at the time. Observer award winner: Whipwreck.
Lawrence Taylor?! He wrestled one match! Pittman flamed out after a few years in WCW. Wright should have been bigger and wasn’t for a variety of reasons, but I can see this pick making sense at the time. I don’t know who Maxxine is, the Wiki page links to the wrong person. Observer award winner: Perro Aguayo, Jr. Well, PWI doesn’t cover lucha
Giant was a solid choice at the time, especially since Rocky had barely debuted by the cut-off date in kayfabe, but MAN does that look silly now. Mongo finishing AHEAD of The Rock looks even sillier. Joe Gomez is still kicking around. Observer award winner: The Giant. Way to go, Dave. Well, Giant did have a ton of upside and he was World champion right away.
Well this year is a writeoff. Iaukea is a good enough choice from a kayfabe sense. Chetti went nowhere, neither did Bracchus. Observer award winner: Mr. Aguila (Essa Rios).
Henry debuted in 96 so this is an odd place for him to say the least. Goldberg, duh. Observer award winner: Goldberg. No-brainer here.
Yeah, that Vince, what a rookie sensation. Karagias and LeRoux both flamed out of wrestling completely, and so did Shane himself I guess. Wonder what Vince is up to now? Observer award winner: Blitzkrieg. Another one-hit wonder. 99 was a rough year for new stars.
Any other choice cannot be justified with any argument whatsoever. Lita ended up a solid #2 in this group, though. The rest, we know the story. Observer award winner: Sean O’Haire. Huh. Way to pick ‘em, Dave.
Now there’s a hell of a rookie crop. Interesting case, because Orton did not look like a star at all for a long time after his OVW debut, but obviously they were determined to wait him out and make a star out of him. Brock you could tell was a big deal right from the start. Truth looks like the redheaded stepchild out of this group. The Prototype is a good wrestling name, did he ever amount to anything? I mean, if he was a big star, he’d have been on RAW last week, right? So he’s probably not. Observer award winner: El Hombre Sin Nombre. Yeah, Dave missed the boat on that one. Even that Protoype goof would have been a better choice, I’m pretty sure. I wonder if that was an eligibility thing since Prototype debuted in 2000?
The year of Tough Enough! Gone, gone, gone, gone! Observer award winner: Bob Sapp. I never saw much of him, actually.
Morgan ended up being the biggest star of the bunch. Gowen was just missing a vital part, you know? He just couldn’t get a leg up in the business. He could only get so far, and then he got cut off at the knees by politics. Observer award winner: Chris Sabin.
Obviously Nitro should have won this one, although at the time Cappotelli seemed like the sure thing out of the pair before the brain tumor ended his career. Brown is now firmly in the “Whatever Happened To?” file, as is Williams. Observer award winner: Petey Williams.
One wannabe MMA badass, a cheerleader, a referee, and a ring announcer. Quite the crew of washouts. Doane should have been way bigger, but WWE just drove him out of the business. Observer award winner: Shingo Takagi. Not familiar with him.
Yeah, the Boogeyman beat out Cody Rhodes for Rookie of the Year. And Akebono got third just by working on shitty match with Big Show. What a year. Observer award winner: Atsushi Aoki. Get the feeling that Dave wasn’t big on the US scene at that point?
I’m pretty sure Hornswoggle wasn’t a rookie in 2007. We’re still waiting on the Dibiases to do anything in the business to live up to their potential. Primeau was an ROH guy who went nowhere. Observer award winner: Erick Stevens. He hasn’t done much either since then.
There’s THREE Dibiases? Ted had million-dollar sperm too, I guess. Why hasn’t Vince just brought them all in with Sr. as manager? Hennig was a safe choice, but obviously hasn’t panned out yet. Observer award winner: KAI, from All Japan. OK then.
I have nothing interesting to say here because I don’t know any of these people.
Did you know that the 1977 Rookie of the Year runner-up had a daughter?