Here are my picks for the decade's best in pro wrestling in six categories. I have previously selected Triple H as the Wrestler of the Decade.
BEST WORKER: KURT ANGLE
The Olympic gold medalist made a seamless transition from amateur wrestling to sports entertainment. A tremendously well-conditioned athlete, Angle not only is a fantastic mat wrestler, but he also does a heck of a moonsault and he's a good brawler as well. Everything he does is smooth and looks realistic. Despite battling serious neck injuries over the years, Angle, 41, still is one of the best – if not the best – in-ring performers in the business, as evidenced by his instant classic match against A.J. Styles last Monday on TNA Impact and his recent matches with Desmond Wolfe.
BEST MATCH: THE UNDERTAKER VS. SHAWN MICHAELS (WRESTLEMANIA XXV, 2009)
There were a lot of great matches to choose from, but the one that stands out the most for me is the epic battle between two of WWE's biggest stars of the past 20 years that took place at the company's signature event, which I was fortunate enough to attend. The 44-year-old Undertaker and 43-year-old Michaels combined athleticism and conditioning that belied their ages with stellar ring generalship. The result was a match for the ages that included thrilling false finishes and a near-tragic over-the-top rope dive by The Undertaker, who improved his WrestleMania record to 17-0 after pinning Michaels at about the 31-minute mark.
BEST FEUD: EDGE VS. JOHN CENA
The intense rivalry between the two WWE superstars began in 2006 (they battled each other for most of the year) and heated up again in 2009. Cena, the ultimate babyface, and Edge, the ultimate opportunist, had incredible chemistry as adversaries in the ring and on the microphone. Six times world titles changed hands in matches involving Cena and Edge, including a TLC match that Cena won on Edge's home turf of Toronto in 2006. Their final encounter (for now) was an excellent Last Man Standing Match this past April, which saw Edge beat Cena for the WWE title.
BEST TAG TEAM: TEAM 3D
Whether you call them Team 3D or The Dudley Boyz, Bubba and Devon certainly bring a lot to the table (pun intended). Effective as heels or babyfaces, Team 3D won their first WWE tag team title in 2000, and would go on to win nine championships in WWE. Their TLC and ladder matches with Edge and Christian and The Hardy Boyz are classics. Team 3D moved on to TNA in 2005, where they have won two TNA/NWA world tag team championships to go along with two IWGP titles in New Japan. Except for a brief period in 2002 when they had a stint as singles wrestlers, Bubba and Devon have teamed together throughout the decade. Team 3D is still going strong, as their feud with Beer Money was one of TNA's best of 2009.
BEST FEMALE WRESTLER: TRISH STRATUS
When she made her WWE debut in 2000 as the valet for the tag team T&A (Test and Albert), all I saw was another stereotypical bleached-blonde with breast implants. Stratus proved over time, however, that she was more than just another pretty face. She ended up becoming perhaps the best all-around female performer in WWE history. No one combined the diva look with in-ring skills as well as Stratus, who went on to win the WWE women's title a record seven times. She also was involved in memorable story lines with Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, Chris Jericho, Christian, Lita and Mickie James. Stratus left the business on her own terms and at the top of her game, as she defeated Lita for the title in 2006 and then retired.
BEST NON-WRESTLING PERFORMER: VINCE McMAHON
In his role of the megalomaniacal Mr. McMahon, the WWE chairman brought the mega-heat that he garnered during his historic feud with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in the late '90s into the next decade. Although he was overexposed at times – and I'm not just talking about his Kiss My Ass club – McMahon almost always made things significantly more interesting when he was around. During the 2000s, McMahon feuded with top babyfaces such as Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, as well as just about every member of his family, including son-in-law Triple H. McMahon even had a short reign as ECW champion.