As 2020 starts to come to an end, I think it is time that we look back on this year and reminisce on the parts of wrestling that were awesome! Welcome to Robby's end of the year awards! This week we will be going over some of my favorite gimmicks and characters from this year. Good character choices can take a wrestler who might already be technically sound and turn them into the biggest star we have ever seen, and those successes are certainly something to celebrate.
Earlier I published my list of NXT's best gimmicks in 2020, but now it is time to talk about AEW! The relative newcomer to pro wrestling is no stranger to interesting gimmicks and characters, and since there are so many gimmicks I could talk about, I thought it would be best to refine my criteria a little bit. In order to make this list of five, the gimmick needs to either have been introduced in 2020 or have at least found their footing and really got going this year. So even though I love MJF, Orange Cassidy, and Chris Jericho, those guys all had really grasped their characters prior to 2020, and it just wouldn't be fair to everyone else who worked so hard to establish themselves as something new.
Like my NXT list, this is not in any particular order, and there isn't a "winner," all of these wrestlers deserve recognition for their work this year, and ranking them is just a distraction from the actual list. So here we go. These are the best gimmicks and characters that AEW had to offer in 2020.
Brodie Lee and The Dark Order
When the Dark Order began to tease their leader "The Exalted One," many fans in the know started looking toward Matt Hardy and his swiftly expiring contract with WWE. What fans didn't expect was the revelation that Brodie Lee, formerly known as Luke Harper in WWE, would be debuting and taking hold of The Dark Order. Since then, The Dark Order began to shift from a vague cult-like heel stable into a multi-dimensional group that has the ability to kick some serious ass, as well as work as a comedy group using the strengths of John Silver and Alex Reynolds.
All in all, Lee and the group have been super entertaining to watch this year, and that isn't something that I saw coming for The Dark Order.
The living dead girl hasn't had much time on-screen on Dynamite, but that doesn't mean she hasn't left a lasting impact. Not only does Abadon dress the part of her character, but she also wrestles like a monster out of a terrifying horror movie. The moment that AEW had her come out and mark the women's title with the fake blood, she spews out of her mouth was an excellent moment.
The biggest obstacle for Abadon going forward is there is potentially a low ceiling for her unless they evolve the character a little bit. I am looking forward to seeing what they do with her in the future!
When Matt Hardy started the year off taking conchairtos to the neck from Randy Orton, not many people thought that he would end up on very many end of the year lists. All of that changed when Hardy debuted in AEW, bringing back not only his hit broken gimmick but several of his other past lives as well. This Matt Hardy's greatest hits gimmick didn't last the whole year, but it did lead directly to the current iteration of the elder Hardy.
Since abandoning his multiple persona gimmick, Matt has been working as a cocky veteran that has something inside of him that is just waiting to break out. I'm not sure what we will be getting when Hardy is finally pushed over the edge, but I can't wait to see what he does.
Bringing Taz on to be Brian Cage's mouthpiece was an excellent idea. To begin with, adding on the in-ring and mic skills of Ricky Starks was even better; adding Powerhouse Hobbs to the lineup has made Team Taz the most threatening heel stable in AEW. Taz is a legend, and having him paired with three guys that can replicate his attitude from his days in ECW is an incredible concept.
Team Taz can thank luck and timing for much of their success. Without Jon Moxley staying home due to a COVID scare, Taz wouldn't have been able to bring back the FTW belt. If Ricky Starks hadn't debuted at the same time, there is a chance that he would be on his own and not paired with Taz. This stable has rolled with all of the punches, and they had seemingly made all of the right decisions when they needed to.
Not only are these guys cool, but they have turned three newcomers to AEW into staples of the show. And that's really what you want to see happen with a good gimmick.
Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D.
A wrestling dentist isn't always a great choice (just ask Glenn Jacobs), but Britt Baker has spun her "day job" into a character that was able to stick around even through an injury. Britt really did do the best with what she was given during her time on the sidelines, and we got a decent feud with Big Swole out of it too. Her commitment to this character has made her one of the most interesting wrestlers to watch on AEW this year.
Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. is an excellent wrestler and has the potential to become one of the faces of the newest generation of female wrestlers. She did a great job of finding what worked for her character and should be considered one of the MVPs of the "pandemic era".
So here is my list! Who do you think did some of the best character work in 2020? Let me know by tweeting at me @robbydeshazer!
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