On the Aire Presents: Top 10 – 2011 MVPBy Mike AiresEveryone has a different opinion on not only who the best performer was in the WWE this year, but what actually constitutes a "most valuable player."  My qualifications were the normal ones: mic work, ring work, feuds, etc.  However, a part just as big was how their 2011 body of work went compared to their previous year.  This is a combination of the most valuable performer and comeback player of the year.  If you had an amazing year in 2011, you will probably be in the running, but if you have an amazing year AND this was your career year?  Chances are you will be near the top.<!--more-->Let’s start with those just missing the Top 10.  These are the Notable Mentions.*Rock – He is added here, but not an official part of the MVP because he was not around enough.  However the little time Rocky spent around the WWE this year was special, so I felt he should at least get an asterisk’d mention.Randy Orton/John Cena – I have added them together because I feel like both of them had some really good feuds this year, however, really did not show much growth this year.  Cena had his fantastic feud with Punk over the summer, and his ongoing feud with The People’s Champ, but it was still VINTAGE Cena.  Orton had what I consider to be a feud of the year with Christian, as well as small feuds with Cody Rhodes, CM Punk, and Mark Henry.  Both men accomplished the big tickets this year by winning their brand’s respective titles; however it was the status quo for both men.Wade Barrett – Barrett started 2011 the same way he left 2010: In a group.  The fact that the WWE felt comfortable to have Barrett be the lead of not one but two different groups show they have faith in him, however being the leader of a mid-card group left him muddled and stuck with the very same bunch.  He finally found gold this year by winning the Intercontinental Title in May.  After tagging with his Corrrrrrrrrrrrre (I think I missed one or two r’s) group at WrestleMania, he would lose his title and the group would dissolve heading into the summer.  Wade finally got out on his own, and the “Barrett Barrage” began.  He’s now involved with the biggest face of SmackDown in Randy Orton.  That’s a long ways from being Jericho’s rookie on NXT in early 2010.The Miz – Miz walked into 2011 as the WWE Champion.  The fact that a former reality star and “host” of SmackDown and the Diva Search had the WWE Championship and defended it at WrestleMania gets him some recognition for his performance in 2011.  He even won the WWE Tag Team Championships earlier in the year…for about 10 minutes.  After his run with the WWE Title was ended by John Cena, Miz went on to have feuds with his former protégé/stooge Alex Riley as well as big matches at Money in the Bank and SummerSlam.  He then teamed with R-Truth to form Awesome Truth and brought some of my favorite moments from this year.  Miz continued to hang around the main event level, and is once again in the title picture going into TLC this month.Now we get into the Top 10.  Each of these entries had fantastic 2011s, and built on everything they had started in 2010.  They were true Superstars this season and all worthy to be considered Top 10 MVPs.10. Alberto Del Rio – Del Rio had one hell of a year, yet he still passed under the radar a bit.  He never seemed to get all the support he needed to be “the” guy.  He started his year off by winning the biggest Royal Rumble yet, but lost his World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania in Edge’s retirement match.  After feuds with Christian and Big Show, Del Rio once again rose to glory by winning the Money in the Bank ladder match for Raw.9. Beth Phoenix/Natalya – The Divas of Doom are paired together because they have been inseparable for the better half of the year, and both have such similar styles in the ring that it just made sense.  While Beth was unnoticeable for the first half of the year, Nattie started 2011 as the Diva’s Champion.  She feuded with Lay-Cool and then became a mentor to AJ and Kaitlyn.  But in early August, both Beth and Nattie turned heel, aligned, and formed the Sisters of Destruction.  Since then, they’ve been the main stay of the Divas division, with Beth reigning as the Champ.  I anticipate one of them turning on the other and having one of the best women’s matches in years at a PPV in 2012.8. Daniel Bryan – Bryan started the year with the United States title, which he lost in March to Sheamus.  Bryan hit his low point of the year by having his rematch with Sheamus taken off the WrestleMania card completely, and put it on Raw.  In April, Bryan was drafted to SmackDown and had a brief feud with Cody Rhodes.  In July, Bryan did the impossible, and won SmackDown’s MITB match.  This catapulted Bryan into the title picture for the foreseeable future, and has had him feuding with the current Heavyweight Champion, Mark Henry.  Bryan went from being a lowly midcard guy to one of the biggest names on SD!.  His skills always put him at the top of the locker room, and now he’s seen as such.  It was a fantastic year for Daniel Bryan Danielson.7. R-Truth – What a roller coaster year for Truth.  He won a Tag Title match with his NXT rookie Johnny Curtis that he never used and competed in the dark match battle royal before WrestleMania. Shortly after, however, he turned heel on his buddy John Morrison, and with a water bottle in hand and lit up cigarette in his mouth, the bad R-Truth was born.  The rest of the year, Truth was on the top of his game, feuding with Morrison, Cena, and Rey Mysterio, and then teaming with Miz towards the end of the year.  His mannerisms, catchphrases, and con-spiracy theories made him entertaining as hell to watch.6. Christian – While Christian began and now ended his 2011 on the injured list, what he did between his pectoral injury and ankle injury made him an absolute joy to watch each and every week.  He came back from an injury in February to align with his BFF Edge and take on Alberto Del Rio.  At WrestleMania, Christian helped Edge defeat Del Rio to retain the World Heavyweight Champion, which ended up being Edge’s final match.  Christian then took Edge’s spot on SmackDown, and at Extreme Rules, Christian won his first Heavyweight title in his WWE career.  Shortly after, Christian turned heel, and began a summer long feud with Randy Orton.  Each and every match the two had were “match of the year” candidates, and then Christian ended his year with a feud against Sheamus.  Christian finally got some recognition for his amazing work this year.5. Mark Henry – Someone finally DID get their ass kicked.  Mark Henry started this year the same way others have been: As a mid card smiling big guy and tag partner to the little guys.  In April, everything finally changed.  Henry was drafted to SmackDown and immediately turned heel and started destroying everything and everyone in his way, including production crew members.  He would feud with Orton, Sheamus, Big Show, Kane, and Daniel Bryan all while winning his first World Heavyweight Championship.  No telling who will go into his House of Pain next, or who will be the first to finally stop the Kool-Aid Man.4. Dolph Ziggler – Ziggler finally broke out this year after being stuck in midcard hell for most of his post-Spirit Squad career.  Ziggles lost the Intercontinental Title to Kofi Kingston on SmackDown to start off 2011, but was vaulted into the title picture with Edge.  On February 18th, Ziggler “won” the World Heavyweight Championship, only to lose it back to Edge 11 minutes later.  He was then hired onto Raw in March, and steadily climbed the card since then.  Feuds with Morrison (and Snooki) and Kofi Kingston lead him to become the current US Champion.  He is now in a major feud with Zack Ryder and could be on his way to the main event very soon.  The biggest change for Ziggler this year was his work on the mic.  He went from needing Vickie to get heat, to being a talking machine.3. Zack Ryder – Did anyone’s stock rise more in a single year than Zack Ryder’s?  The only thing keeping him from the #1 spot is the fact that his wrestling ability still isn’t quite there yet.  However, this Long Island Loud Mouth went from a jobber just waiting to get “future endeavor’d” to one of the more popular superstars on the roster, and a merchandise machine.  Ryder was never really seen on major TV for the first half of the year (SuperStars show, represent!), but he started his YouTube show that catapulted him into the eyes of the audience.  As the fans became more vocal for Ryder, he finally started appearing on TV, and is now entrenched into BOTH Raw and SmackDown, and is on the verge of capturing his first singles title.  Ryder’s success could end up being short-lived, but man…what a year he had.2. Cody Rhodes – Cody Rhodes had a gleam of hope last year with his Dashing gimmick.  It wasn’t getting over with the fans too much, but in January, Rhodes started a feud with Mysterio when Mysterio legit broke Rhodes’ nose.  Whoever’s genius idea it was to use this to revamp Cody’s character should be in this #2 position as well.  Cody re-emerged a little over a month later as a Supervillan, with a protective mask over his “hideous” face, and henchmen walking around handing out paper bags to the crowd to hide their faces.  Rhodes followed up that successful feud with ones with Daniel Bryan, Sin Cara, Ted DiBiase, Ezekiel Jackson (in which Rhodes won the IC Title, and brought back the awesome white-belt title) and now Randy Orton and Booker T.  The sky is the limit for this kid, but his in ring work, and mic skills have gotten extremely good and his confidence is through the roof.  Rhodes or Riot, indeed.1. CM Punk – This was the Year of the Punk.  No one used all of their tools and came out of nowhere to become THE Superstar of 2011. Punk started his 2011 campaign in a lot of similar ways that Wade Barrett’s did.  He was the leader of a group.  The New..New Nexus.  He used that group to feud with Randy Orton which led to two great matches between the two.  Then in June, after defeating ADR, Mysterio and John Cena, Punk had the speech heard around the world and started his summer long feud with John Cena.  The Money in the Bank (Chicago blew the damn roof off) and SummerSlam matches between the two was amazing, and was followed up with Punk doing what he does best against Triple H, Awesome Truth, and Alberto Del Rio.  Punk started off 2011 slowly, but went out becoming the biggest property in the company and won the WWE Championship two different times.  He brought change to the WWE, and has not only held the “Best in the World” title for most of the year, but is also the 2011 Most Valuable Performer.I could have written pages about everyone mentioned in this article since I am a fan of all of their work.  There are several others I wanted to add to the list as well.  Let me know what you guys think.  Give us your MVPs for 2011 in the comments section.  You can also wish me well or death over on my twitter page @OSUmike03.