Diva Dirt presents its second annual Writers’ Choice Awards, the awards that celebrate the year in women’s wrestling, as decided by the editors and contributors of Diva Dirt. The Diva Dirt team has watched hundreds of episode of wrestling television this year, as well as hundreds of live events on DVD, additionally, we’ve followed a countless number of wrestlers over the year, and reviewed tons of matches. Now, as we come to the end of 2012, we have picked the best of the best to be awarded our Writers’ Choice blue ribbons.
Independent Star of the Year: Jazz
You will have heard of the name of our Independent Star of the Year before, and with good reason. A former WWE Women’s Champion, Jazz has been in the wrestling business for a very long time – since 1998, in fact. But it was in 2012 she experienced something of a career resurgence, making a big splash in SHINE Wrestling, NCW Femmes Fatales, Slammin’ Ladies and many other promotions. At almost 40 years old, most women would be considering wrapping up their in-ring careers, but not this “Fighting Female Phenom”. She’s proved through a series of classic matches that she still has ‘it’, the quality that makes her a star inside the wrestling ring. Jazz is aggressive, ruthless and as intense as ever.
She’s no stranger to all-female promotions – Jazz spent much of 2009 through to 2011 wrestling for WSU in New Jersey and the company inducted her into their Hall of Fame in 2010 for her contributions to the wrestling business – but it was in 2012 that she helped several put them on the map.
In March 2012, she made her way North to Montreal, Quebec in Canada for NCW Femmes Fatales VIII, falling to LuFisto in an epic No Disqualification match.
After Sara Del Rey defeated Santana Garrett EVOLVE 14 in June, the “Queen of Wrestling” demanded some actual competition when she came to SHINE Wrestling. She put the challenge out there to the “very best, besides herself” – Jazz. Jazz has never been one to back down from a challenge – she accepted it, and the two faced off in something of a dream match for independent wrestling fans… and a terrific first main event for SHINE Wrestling.
This kicked off a series of fantastic matches for SHINE – in August, she battled Mercedes Martinez to a double count-out; in September, she defeated Rain; in October she received her first shot at the SHIMMER Championship when she did battle with Saraya Knight (she lost, thanks to her previous two SHINE opponents); and in November, she teamed with Kharma, aka Amazing Kong – who was making her in-ring return since her WWE release earlier in the year – to take on the two who had cost her a taste of gold, Martinez and Rain.
Outside of SHINE, she’s also advanced to the finals of ArenaChicks’s first-ever championship tournament (by defeating TNA Knockout Rosita) and has taken on the likes of Winter, Kimber Lee, Miss Maullie, Allysin Kay and Taylor Made for smaller independent promotions… and won.
Both Pro Wrestling Illustrated and Diva Dirt have already recognized her achievements in wrestling – PWI ranked her at an impressive #13 on this year’s PWI Female 50, while Diva Dirt awarded her one of its two 2012 Legacy Awards at SHINE 1.
So what’s next for this former WWE superstar? She’s become a staple in the Florida-based SHINE promotion, and one would think if a title were to be introduced soon, she’d be one of the first in line to receive a shot at it. SHINE is also the sister promotion to SHIMMER Women Athletes, and once upon a time, several years ago, Jazz was booked to wrestle at one of their tapings before being forced to pull out due to a death in the family. Could she make her way to Chicago in 2013 and make her presence known there?
No matter where she goes, and who she faces, Jazz remains one of the most physically imposing female performers in the business and will always bring her A-game with her.
– Most Improved: Brooke Tessmacher
– Best Tag Team or Group: Midwest Militia
– Best Babyface: AJ Lee
– Best Heel: Jessicka Havok
– Promotion of the Year: SHINE Wrestling
– Best Feud: Brooke Tessmacher vs Tara
– Best Breakthrough: AJ Lee
– Match of the Year: Gail Kim vs Tara (Against All Odds)
Stay tuned for more Writers’ Choice Awards throughout December.