There was no bigger winner in WWE in the last year than CM Punk. Punk started off 2012 as WWE Champion and ended it as WWE Champion without relinquishing it once. The last person who could say that he did that was Hulk Hogan twenty-five years ago. This year he has turned away challenges from Dolph Ziggler, Chris Jericho, Kane, Daniel Bryan, John Cena, Ryback and more. He also went from one of the most beloved figures in the company to the most hated. During all of this CM Punk was also consistently putting on the best matches on the card and restoring the credibility of the WWE Championship.
While not as impressive as CM Punk’s title dominance in 2012 the 210 day World Championship reign of Sheamus was nothing to scoff at either. Sheamus started his title run with a win against Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania XVIII that took him all of eighteen seconds. Sheamus followed that up with a match of the year candidate at the next month’s Extreme Rules pay-per-view in a best two out of three falls match. He also knocked back countless challenges from Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio. Sheamus also stepped up his game having great matches all year long on Raw and Smackdown! Before finally losing the title to The Big Show at Hell In A Cell.
The Big Show:
The year started a little slowly for The Big Show but the big man had one of the best years of his career this year and stayed in the title picture pretty much the entire time. He finally got his Wrestlemania moment this year winning the Intercontinental Championship from Cody Rhodes and while he dropped that title back to Rhodes only a month later in embarrassing fashion he rebounded pretty quickly by turning his back on his fans and becoming the monster he should have been all along. By the end of the year he regained The World Title and would hold it for the rest of the year.
When it comes to the newcomers in WWE this year no one made their presence felt more than Ryback. Debuting after Wrestlemania Ryback had one dominant win after another, although in fairness most of those wins came against local talent that had never been seen of before or since. After a while he moved up to the regular jobbers of WWE like JTG, Curt Hawkins, Tyler Reks and others. By the last half of the year though he was squaring off against more seasoned talent like former WWE champion The Miz and although he ended the year on a couple of pay-per-view loses each one was against WWE Champion CM Punk and under dubious circumstances each time.
Even though Ziggler didn't win any championship gold in 2012 he did win The Money in the Bank Briefcase which is just as good. He also established himself as a proved grappler with amazing performances in every one of his matches. Although he did find himself on the losing end of more matches then he ever should of this year he did so while looking like a huge star. He also ended the year with the biggest win of his career when he retained his Money in the Bank Briefcase defeating John Cena in a ladder match.
John Cena didn't really accomplish a whole lot in the ring this year with his biggest win easily coming from his match against Brock Lesnar back at Extreme Rules. Despite this Cena remained the most popular star and face of WWE the entire year. Cena was also consistently at the top of the card and main eventing every pay-per-view over WWE Champion CM Punk. At the end of the year Cena proved his loses didn't hurt his popularity with fans one bit by winning the Superstar of the Year Slammy for the third time in four years. Cena's most impressive and admirable accomplishment in 2012 came outside of the ring though with his continued charity work including granting his 300th wish for The Make-A-Wish Foundation, more than anyone else in Make-A-Wishes wonderful history.
Was there a bigger loser in WWE this year than Zack Ryder? I don’t think so. He ended 2011 on a roll after finally capturing the United States championship from Dolph Zigger and it seemed like 2012 was going to be the year of The Long Island Iced Z. Unfortunately it seemed like his roll dropped with that giant ball in Times Square in New York on New Year’s Eve. It took only eighteen days in 2012 before he dropped the United States title to Jack Swagger and it was all downhill from there. He was constantly handed his ass to Kane on a weekly basis to the point where a new cast was added to him every week until he was wearing a body cast in a wheelchair. Thankfully his bones healed much quicker than Bob Orton’s and he was back in no time being made a fool of by Eve the girl that he had been head over heels for for months. He lost the match for his team at Wrestlemania XXVIII. From there on out he lost pretty much every match he had on TV whenever he appeared on TV which became less and less as the year wore on. By the end of the year Ryder couldn’t buy a win if he had Ted DiBiase's money and despite fan support was back to hardly showing up on TV. As the final insult of the year when WWE flashed a “Did you know” fact about the top five WWE Superstars who have the most followers on Twitter he wasn't even on the list in favor of The Miz in the number five spot even though Ryder had well over 100,000 more followers.
Yes John Cena was one of the biggest winners of the year in WWE but make no doubt about it he was also one of the biggest losers of the year. Although still the face of the company this is easily Cena’s most unsuccessful year yet competition wise. After a yearlong build to his showdown with The Rock at Wrestlemania XXVIII he came out on the losing end. After that he was Brock Lesnar’s bitch for the next month until getting the win during their match at Extreme Rules, and even that was after getting the crap beaten out of him the entire match making his win that very much like a fluke. After that Cena won the Money in the Bank Briefcase which he cashed in on Raw 1000 only to lose to CM Punk and be the first person to come out on the losing end after cashing in the briefcase. After that he chased CM Punk for the title only to come out on the losing end every time. He was then sidelined with an injury only to come back and challenge Dolph Ziggler for Ziggler's Money in the Bank only to lose once again. For the first time in years Cena didn’t hold a single championship.
Alberto Del Rio:
It doesn't seem right to add Del Rio to this list but let’s face it he does indeed belong here. Even though he spent several months feuding with Sheamus over The World Title Del Rio could never win the title and never even pulled off a single win in the feud that had any meaning to it whatsoever. Instead Del Rio just looked like a complete non-threat to the champion and in the end came off as a chump. 2013 may of started off great for Del Rio but that doesn't erase the awful year he had in 2012.
For years Randy Orton has been neck and neck with John Cena as the face of WWE but this year despite the losing ways of Cena, Randy Orton had it even worse. Orton spend almost no time whatsoever this year in the main event of 2012 and instead has been regulated to one meaningless feud after the other. It got even worse after Orton’s sixty day suspension from his second wellness policy violation. Since then the company has been reluctant to do anything with him. Add to the fact that Orton seems completely bored by being a hero that he is just phoning it in night after night and has never been more bland and boring than ever to the point that when he comes on my TV it usually singles a good time to take my dogs out to poop.
Once one of the hottest heels in the company The Miz was one of the most hated people on TV but like Orton he too has gotten incredibly boring and has been beaten so many times in 2012 he has become nothing but a joke that no one could ever take seriously as a threat and as just become annoying as possible. Just when you thought he couldn't of gotten worse he became a hero for the first time in his career in one of the worse and most uninspired face turns in recent memory which should of freshen up his character but instead has only made him even more bland and boring.
Lord Tensai made his big return to WWE this year after Wrestlemania with a huge amount of hype and big push but he immediately failed to connect with the fans with them chanting “Albert”, his last WWE persona, at him at every turn. After a string of impressive wins it was clear that Lord Tensai was going nowhere. The first change was in his name as he started going simply as Tensai and lost his neat entrance gear. After that Tensai started losing more and more frequently until he was losing every match to the likes of people like Santino and started showing up on TV only every now and again and has become a comedy figure. He may of returned with a lot of hype but by the time the year ended very few could of fallen so far.
2012 started off with some promise for Jack Swagger has he won the United States championship from the year’s biggest loser Zack Ryder only sixteen days into the year and held it for the better part of two months before losing it to Santino who hasn't been able to buy a win for himself for years in WWE. After that it all went to hell for Swagger. He started teaming up with Dolph Ziggler and failed to win the tag team titles at every turn. Soon enough Vickie Guerrero kicked him to the curb in favor of Dolph Ziggler and rightfully so. After that Swagger continued his losing ways even addressing the fact that he hadn't won a single match since losing the United States title. It got so bad that there was seemingly nothing WWE could do to rehab Swagger anymore and had him leave TV on the September 3rd episode of Raw saying that he needed time off. Since then he has yet to return to TV. If not for missing from TV for the rest of 2012 Swagger could of very easily been the biggest loser in WWE for 2012 and the case can be made that he indeed is since he was written off of TV for his losing ways but given how far Ryder fell since the very start of the year beginning with his lost to Swagger I think Ryder just edges out Swagger is suckyness for 2012.