The WWE NXT brand has released their categories and nominees for 2017 awards for the brand. The way to vote is to tweet the hashtags in all of the categories you see below. There’s more info from WWE.com here:

There are nine different categories for the NXT Universe to vote on, exclusively on Twitter. In order for a vote to be official, you must include BOTH of the following in your tweet: (1) the hashtag of the category, and (2) the hashtag of the nominee you are voting for. Please limit your votes to one category/nominee per tweet.

The winners of each category will be announced the night of NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia, which will take place Saturday, Jan. 27, on the award-winning WWE Network and across all digital platforms.

I’ll share all the categories below along with my picks for the winners.

#NXTAwardTakeOver
#SanAntonio
#Orlando
#BrooklynIII
#Chicago
#WarGames

I picked Takeover Chicago in my awards due to the stacked lineup from top to bottom thanks to the Dunne/Bate match and the tag team ladder match. That’s my pick.

#NXTAwardFemale
#Asuka
#EmberMoon
#NikkiCross
#RubyRiott
#IconicDuo — Billie Kay & Peyton Royce

Asuka is my pick even though she wasn’t there the entire year. Her match quality is the best and she was the most over women’s wrestler as well. Ember Moon would be my second pick.

#NXTAwardMale
#BobbyRoode
#DrewMcIntyre
#AleisterBlack
#AndradeAlmas
#RoderickStrong

Tough call. Even though McIntyre wasn’t in NXT the first three months, he is my pick just ahead of Black and Almas.

#NXTAwardOverall
#BobbyRoode
#DrewMcIntyre
#AleisterBlack
#AndradeAlmas
#RoderickStrong
#Asuka
#EmberMoon
#NikkiCross
#RubyRiott
#IconicDuo — Billie Kay & Peyton Royce

I’ll go with Asuka here too.

#NXTAwardTagTeam
#AuthorsOfPain
#SAnitY
#TheRevival
#DIY
#UndisputedERA — Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly

It’s close between Authors of Pain and Sanity. I think the match quality for Sanity is a little bit better overall and I just love the presentation of that group, so Sanity is my pick.

#NXTAwardBreakoutStar
#AleisterBlack
#AndradeAlmasZelinaVega
#UndisputedERA
#SonyaDeville
#RubyRiott
#VelveteenDream
#LarsSullivan

Tough call between Almas and Black. Going with Almas because he really elevated his game to the next level this year and the addition of Zelina Vega has helped his heel act get over to that championship level. Also a shoutout to Velveteen Dream, who is going to be a big deal very soon.

#NXTAwardFutureStar
#StreetProfits
#HeavyMachinery
#ShaynaBaszler
#KairiSane
#FabianAichner
#CezarBononi
#LioRush
#BiancaBelair
#LaceyEvans

My pick is Kairi Sane here. She’s a little on the small side but has a lot of potential. The Street Profits have a lot of potential too. If Velveteen Dream was here he would have been my pick.

#NXTAwardMatch
#GarganoVsAlmas
 — Johnny Gargano vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas (TakeOver: Brooklyn III)
#AsukaVsMoon — Asuka vs. Ember Moon (NXT Women’s Championship Match, TakeOver: Brooklyn III)
#McIntyreVsAlmas — Drew McIntyre vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas (NXT Championship Match, TakeOver: WarGames)
#DIYVsRevivalVsAOP — #DIY vs. The Revival vs. Authors of Pain (NXT Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Tag Team Elimination Match, TakeOver: Orlando)
#BateVsDunne — Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne (WWE U.K. Championship Match, TakeOver: Chicago)
#WarGamesMatch — SAnitY vs. Authors of Pain & Roderick Strong vs. Undisputed ERA (TakeOver: WarGames)
#AsukaVsCross — Asuka vs. Nikki Cross (NXT Women’s Championship Last Woman Standing Match, NXT TV, June 28, 2017)
#DIYVsAOP — #DIY vs. Authors of Pain (NXT Tag Team Championship Ladder Match, TakeOver: Chicago)
#StrongVsRoode — Roderick Strong vs. Bobby Roode (NXT Championship Match, NXT TV, July 5, 2017)
#WomensBattleRoyal — NXT Women’s Championship Qualifying Battle Royal (NXT TV, Oct. 25, 2017)
#BlackVsDream — Aleister Black vs. Velveteen Dream (TakeOver: WarGames)
#GarganoVsOhno — Johnny Gargano vs. Kassius Ohno (NXT TV, Dec. 6, 2017)

There are so many to choose from. My pick is Bate vs. Dunne from NXT Takeover Chicago, which was my #2 match of the year after Cena/Styles at the Royal Rumble in my Johnny Awards column. The WarGames match is my second pick on here. Asuka vs. Moon at NXT Takeover Brooklyn III in August is a favorite of mine too.

#NXTAwardRivalry
#NakamuraRoode — Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Bobby Roode
#MoonAsuka — Ember Moon vs. Asuka
#BateDunne — Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne
#SAnitYUndisputed — SAnitY vs. Undisputed ERA
#BlackDream — Aleister Black vs. Velveteen Dream
#OhnoItami — Kassius Ohno vs. Hideo Itami
#DIYAOP — #DIY vs. Authors of Pain

This is tough because Bate and Dunne had the best matches, but it wasn’t much of a feud. It was lacking in storyline. It’s close between Asuka vs. Moon and Sanity vs. Undisputed Era. I’ll go with Asuka vs. Moon, but it was not an easy call.

That’s all of them. For more info on the awards and the voting process, check out WWE.com.

 

IN OTHER NEWS

– John Cena is currently filming the movie Bumblebee, which is set to be released in December 2018. The movie also stars Hailee Steinfeld and Pamela Aldon. The movie is a spinoff of the Transformers movies. Thanks to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter for the info.

Cena will be back in WWE for the Royal Rumble on January 28. I assume he’ll be on the January 22 Raw as well since it’s the 25 year anniversary show.

– Raw did 2.86 million viewers this week, which is pretty good considering it was New Year’s Day and there was strong competition from college football. The first college football game, Georgia over Oklahoma, did 25.9 million viewers on ESPN and the second game with Alabama beating Clemson did 20.4 million viewers. For Raw to come close to their regular audience against that kind of competition is pretty good news for WWE. Numbers come from Showbuzz Daily.

The ratings for Smackdown went up for the third straight week and finished with 2.72 million viewers according to Showbuzz Daily. The average rating for Smackdown is usually around 2.5 million, so it’s a nice boost and three straight weeks going up is a good sign. I think that shows this storyline with Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon bickering about AJ Styles, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn is working.

– Bobby Roode and Charlotte Flair from Smackdown Live were announced as the second team in the Mixed Match Challenge show. At least they should have cool robes. The first team is Braun Strowman and Alexa Bliss. Here’s the video announcing it.

Two more teams announced just as I was posting this was Finn Balor and Sasha Banks from Raw while Rusev and his wife Lana will team from Smackdown. I’ll get into that more tomorrow.

 

THE VIDEO SECTION

I enjoy the “Where are they now?” videos that WWE does every so often. Here’s a good one about Hornswoggle.

This is a close-up video about Kane and Brock Lesnar from Monday’s Raw. It was a boring segment that WWE probably thinks was very exciting.

 

THE PLUG ZONE

Check out TJRWrestling Staff Predictions for 2018. We cover a lot of things with some of us going for title changes, heel turns, non-WWE stuff involving Chris Jericho and more. I think we did a good although obviously, we won’t know how accurate we are until twelve months from now.

 

IN CLOSING

Big “on this day” memory today because January 4, 1999 is when Mick “Mankind” Foley won his first WWE Championship on Raw by beating The Rock thanks to some help from Steve Austin. It’s one of the loudest ovations I’ve ever heard from the time Austin appears to when Foley is handed the title. The match was actually taped six days before (Raw wasn’t live every week until August 1999 when Smackdown started), so most of us knew it was coming, but I still remember it and love it. Here are comments from Foley and two videos about it.

That’s all for now. If you’re wondering, I plan on doing a NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12 review. It might be Friday or Saturday when it’s up because it’s tough to find five free hours to get through it all.

I’ll be back tomorrow with another WWE news update.