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Papa Awards – My Favorite People, Events, and Promotions of 2016

Wrestling has always been a cyclical affair with me. It has its seasons and patterns that roll through the year with an oddly comforting regularity. We are all accustomed to the watershed events that dot the calendar and many of us look forward with glee to the season that is upon us now. It is pro wrestling awards season! The time to pick the best or the worst or the most improved or the whatever.  My anticipation and interest in the graps reaches a fever pitch this time of year. The fact that I won the Sheety Award for wrestling article of the year a few days ago only adds fuel to the fire. It was a joy and such a great honor to win, especially when so many fine articles were written last year. But that is ancient history. Lets get to the good stuff, the 2016 Papa Awards

My wrestling journey in 2016 has carried me all over this great country with appearances at over 70 live shows. My viewing of matches in all variety of media and my constant wrestling chatter have made this an interesting and fulfilling year. While I have never deemed myself to be an expert, I have seen plenty and I know what I like. My intention in starting these awards has never been to list the best of anything. Rather my goal is to share my favorite moments and experiences in independent wrestling over the past twelve months. There is no vote, no discussion, no argument. I have met in person or social media thousands of people this year in the wrestling world. Nearly every one of them has been kind and a joy to meet. I wish that I could give them all an award, but sadly that is not possible. I decided to give out 64 in 16 distinct categories. Essentially this is a love letter to pro wrestling and to many (but not all) of the people that made my journey so special. There is no ranking and no person wins more than one award. A Papa is a Papa is a Papa. Shall we begin?

Papa Awards for Favorite Show Mates. People I love to see and sit with at shows:

@JohnPhilapavage       @glasgowkjh       @ChicagosCRose       @bellegenerico

Papa Awards for Favorite Twitter Pals. Folks I love to twitterize with:

@TheFrayMovement         @CMKarlee         @Tanner1495        @KrisZellner

Papa Awards for Favorite Handlers. People who have taken care of an old man:

@TheLadyJSays         @BrandonWagemann          @heatherjeannine         @DSpenceCantLose

Papa Awards for Hidden Gems. Folks who have done something special for me this year:

@naturalbornheel          @JJWilliamsWON          @Jocay19          @StokelyHathaway

Papa Awards for Favorite Podcasts: This is what I like to listen to:

Talking Sheet              Kick Out at Two             Last Mark Standing               IndyKast

Papa Awards for Favorite Video  Content. This is what I watch:  

Highspots Network         Shine Wrestling         Lucha Underground         Progress Wrestling

Papa Awards for Favorite SUPER Indies.  Focus on great stars and matches:

Evolve                AAW                PWX                 Beyond

Papa Awards for Favorite STORY Indies. Focus on great stories:

CWFmidatlantic                  Freelance                 Atlanta Wrestling (AWE)                NOVA Pro

Papa Awards for Favorite Event of the Year.  it was a joy to attend each of these:

2016 Scenic City Invitational         Cage of Death          DoubleDare         Crazy From the Heat

Papa Awards for Favorite Announcers/Commentators:

Brad Stutts                    Emil Jay                    Lenny Leonard                    Scott Hensley

Papa Awards for Favorite Inspirational Wrestlers:

Joey Janela                    Sugar Dunkerton                  Martin Stone               Space Monkey

Papa Awards for Favorite Breakout Female Stars:

Rachael Ellering                Shayna Baszler                  Jordynne Grace                 Priscilla Kelly

Papa Awards for Favorite Breakout Male Stars:

Anthony Henry                  Arik Royal                   Curt Stallion                   Chet Sterling

Papa Awards for Favorite Tag Teams:

The Carnies              Chip Day/Murder One             The Sandwich Squad             The Lynch Mob

Papa Awards for Favorite Female Wrestler:

Su Yung                         Heidi Lovelace                    Kimber Lee                       Candice LeRae

Papa Awards for Favorite Male Wrestler:

Chris Hero                         Matt Riddle                         Jeff Cobb                         Fred Yehi

2016 was such a satisfying year for me in the realm of independent wrestling. It has brought me excitement, joy, and so many new friends. My challenge to you is to think about pro wrestling and take stock of all the great experiences you had last year. Always be respectful and support the women and men who pour their lives into this industry for our enjoyment. Above all, GET FIRED UP!

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