2017 Pro Wrestling Awards

2017 Pro Wrestling Awards

It’s the last of our FGB Awards for the year – check out our 2017 Pro Wrestling Awards.

Here are the categories:

Most Outstanding Wrestler
Show of the Year
Match of the Year
Breakout Star
Who’s Next

Participating in the awards are Duan, Alan, and GG.

Most Outstanding Wrestler

Duan: Kenny Omega
Omega is as good right now as any of the greats in their prime.

Duan’s previous winners:
2016: AJ Styles
2015: Jay Lethal
2014: Seth Rollins
2013: Daniel Bryan
2012: CM Punk
2011: Dolph Ziggler
2010: John Cena
2009: Chris Jericho
2008: Jeff Hardy

Alan: Kazuchika Okada
I honestly believe that Okada’s 2017 should be spoken of in the same vein as Flair’s ’89, Hokuto’s ’93, Kobashi’s 2003 and Danielson’s 2006. He had no less than four matches that could be considered all-time classics — three vs. Kenny Omega and one vs. Katsuyori Shibata. Add to that some incredible bouts against Minoru Suzuki, Michael Elgin, EVIL and Tiger Mask W, and you have what is frankly a ridiculous level of output. The scary thing is that he might not have even peaked yet!

Alan’s previous winners:
2016: Kazuchika Okada
2015: Yuji Okabayashi
2014: Tomohiro Ishii
2013: Kazuchika Okada
2012: Kazuchika Okada
2011: Daisuke Sekimoto and Akira Tozawa
2010: Chris Hero
2009: KENTA
2008: Shingo Takagi

Don: Asuka
From being undefeated in NXT to being the last survivor in the woman’s WWE Survivor Series match, Asuka was a tough choice over Kazuchika Okada… mainly because I didn’t get to see many of Okada’s matches. As for Asuka, her run with the championship in NXT is one of the longest streaks in WWE history. She had great matches to make Nikki Cross and Ember Moon, and made each of her appearances an event in itself.

Don’s previous winners:
2016: AJ Styles

GG: Kazuchika Okada
I remember talking to Alan about NJPW before the Tokyo Dome show three years ago. I was pretty clueless about NJPW. But from that day forward, I’ve tried my best to keep up with the product. Having NJPW World helps a ton. And I’d say that Okada has quietly become my favorite guy to watch. Save for Bryan Danielson making a comeback in 2018, I don’t see that changing. His work is absolutely excellent and his year was one of the greatest I’ve ever seen in my life as a wrestling fan.

GG’s previous winners:
2016: AJ Styles
2015: AJ Styles
2014: Adrian Neville
2013: Daniel Bryan
2012: CM Punk
2011: Dolph Ziggler
2010: Daniel Bryan
2009: Chris Jericho
2008: Chris Jericho

Show of the Year

Duan: NXT TakeOver: Chicago
If there’s one thing WWE did right this year, it was TakeOver. The NXT signature remain the most consistently entertaining big show anywhere in the wrestling world. Chicago was the pick of the bunch for me with Dunne vs. Bate as the best match to happen under the WWE banner in 2017 and the DIY split being among this year’s few great angles.

Duan’s previous winners:
2016: Progress Brixton
2015: Ultimo Lucha
2014: Payback
2013: SummerSlam
2012: TLC
2011: Money In The Bank
2010: WrestleMania XXVI
2009: Judgment Day
2008: Wrestlemania 24

Alan: Wrestle Kingdom 11
This year’s Tokyo Dome show was absurd. Probably the best show in the history of the building. The final four matches were unbelievable and each one felt like it couldn’t be topped yet somehow it was.

Alan’s previous winners:
2016: Wrestle Kingdom 10
2015: Wrestle Kingdom 9
2014: NJPW G1 Climax Day 7
2013: NJPW G1 Climax Day 4
2012: NJPW King Of Pro Wrestling
2011: PWG DDT4
2010: PWG Seven
2009: PWG Threemendous 2
2008: ROH Supercard Of Honor 3

Don: NXT TakeOver: WarGames
Although they changed up the formula and rules from past WarGames matches, and had teams that really weren’t feuding that long, the match delivered. With the team of The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly) defeating The Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar) & Roderick Strong and Sanity (Alexander Wolfe, Eric Young, and Killian Dain), it was a long match with a lot of great spots. We finally got to see Drew McIntyre in his best NXT match yet, losing to Andrade “Cien” Almas, while also losing the NXT Championship, Ember Moon finally winning the women’s title, and match of the year candidate with Aleister Black defeating Velveteen Dream.

Don’s previous winners:
2016: NXT TakeOver: Dallas

GG: G1 Special in USA Night 1
I have to let you in on a secret. I’m a bad wrestling fan. I never watched the full Wrestle Kingdom 11 show. Unlike the previous two years when I stayed up and watched the full show, I didn’t do so in 2017. So I’m going to choose something that I was there for, and enjoyed a ton, and that’s the G1 Special. To be completely honest, the building was pretty dumpy and the seating arrangement sucked. But overall, the show felt big. But the event itself could’ve been even bigger. But even though there were imperfect things about the show, I enjoyed it a ton. Night two was rock solid too.

GG’s previous winners:
2016: Wrestle Kingdom 10
2015: Wrestle Kingdom 9 and WrestleMania 31
2014: SummerSlam
2013: SummerSlam
2012: TNA Destination X
2011: Elimination Chamber
2010: WrestleMania XXVI
2009: Backlash
2008: Wrestlemania 24

Match of the Year

Duan: Kenny Omega Vs Kazuchika Okada – Wrestle Kingdom 11
Omega/Okada became one of wrestling classic rivalries in 2017. While each of their three matches will rank up alongside anything that happens this or any other year, the first, without coming with the burden of expectation, is the one that felt like it was setting a new standard for what a great match is.

Duan’s previous winners:
2016: The Revival Vs DIY – NXT TakeOver: Toronto
2015: John Cena Vs Seth Rollins Vs Brock Lesnar – Royal Rumble
2014: John Cena vs Cesaro – February 17, 2014 Raw
2013: Brock Lesnar vs CM Punk – SummerSlam
2012: Triple H vs The Undertaker – WrestleMania 28
2011: Triple H vs The Undertaker – WrestleMania XXVII
2010: Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker – WrestleMania XXVI
2009: Rey Mysterio vs Chris Jericho – The Bash

Alan: WALTER Vs Ilja Dragunov – wXw 16 Carat Final
It’s the best match I’ve ever seen live and one which I had the honour of providing commentary for. This was the most emotion I’ve ever felt in a building in my life. People were crying, hugging and staring in disbelief at what they saw. It was powerful stuff.

Alan’s previous winners:
2016: Kazuchika Okada vs Hiroshi Tanahashi – Wrestle Kingdom 10
2015: Shingo Takagi vs. Masaaki Mochizuki – Dragon Gate “Gate Of Destiny”
2014: Masato Yoshino Vs Masaaki Mochizuki – January 16, 2014 and The Jimmys Vs The Millennials – September 23, 2014
2013: Kota Ibushi vs Shinsuke Nakamura – G1 Climax Day 4
2012: Kazuchika Okada vs Tetsuya Naito – NJPW 40th Anniversary Show
2011: Shingo Takagi vs BxB Hulk – Dragon Gate: Pro Wrestling Festival In Kobe
2010: Susumu Yokosuka vs Shingo Takagi – Dragon Gate in Nottingham
2009: 2 Skinny Black Guys vs The Young Buck$ – PWG Threemendous 2
2008: Kenta Kobashi, KENTA, Akihiko Ito, & Atsushi Aoki vs. Kensuke Sasaki, Katsuhiko Nakajima, Kento Miyahara, & Takashi Okita

Don: Kenny Omega Vs Kazuchika Okada – Wrestle Kingdom 11
I don’t get a chance to watch many full matches from New Japan (mostly highlights), but the one match I did see in full was supposedly 6 stars, between Kenny Omega and Okada at Wrestle Kingdom 11. The last time I saw Omega wrestle he was mopping up the side of the ring. From Omega’s Terminator 2 entrance to Okada’s awesome theme music and his Okada dollars raining down, I can’t imagine how the experience was live. I don’t know how many Rainmakers Okada hit, including a spinning tombstone, but this was better than any match I’ve seen in a long time, if ever.

Don’s previous winners:
2016: Shinsuke Nakamura vs Sami Zayn – NXT TakeOver: Dallas

GG: Kenny Omega Vs Kazuchika Okada – Dominion
This match made me question my wrestling fandom. My favorite match of all-time has been Bret Hart vs Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania 13 for as long as I can remember. After I watched this match, I wondered if that had been trumped. Omega vs Okada 2 was everything I ever wanted in a wrestling match and then some. I didn’t know there could ever be a wrestling match that kept up such a fast pace, was as dramatic as all hell, and was interesting enough to keep me glued to the TV for a full hour. That was this. It was so good, it should be nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards.

GG’s previous winners:
2016: Kazuchika Okada vs Hiroshi Tanahashi – Wrestle Kingdom 10
2015: Hiroshi Tanahashi Vs Kazuchika Okada – Wrestle Kingdom 9
2014: Adrian Neville vs Sami Zayn vs Tyler Breeze vs Tyson Kidd – NXT TakeOver: Fatal 4-Way
2013: Daniel Bryan vs John Cena – SummerSlam
2012: Brock Lesnar vs John Cena – Extreme Rules
2011: CM Punk vs John Cena – Money In The Bank
2010: Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker – WrestleMania XXVI
2009: Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker – WrestleMania XXV
2008: Chris Jericho vs Shawn Michaels – No Mercy

Breakout Star

Duan: The Young Bucks
The Bucks changed the rules both inside and outside the ring this year. They’ve been able to connect in a way nobody outside the big leagues have in the modern era.

Duan’s previous winners:
2016: Rich Swann
2015: Kevin Owens
2014: Adrian Neville

Alan: WRESTLE-1
As a company, they were on nobody’s radar at the start of the year. W-1 was viewed as the weakest and most forgettable of Japan’s full-time promotions. Twelve months later and they are a favourite amongst hardcore fans. Perhaps the biggest reason for this is their champ — Shotaro Ashino. Few champions in wrestling carry themselves with the swagger and aura of the “Master Of Suplex.” Ashino, for a two-year pro, showed staggering levels of poise once he was crowned champ. He has been stringing together one fantastic defense after another, and has become one of my favourite wrestlers to watch. His bouts against Jiro “Ikemen” Kuroshio and Daiki Inaba were personal favourites for me in 2017.

Alan’s previous winners:
2016: Matt Riddle
2015: Will Ospreay
2014: AJ Styles

Don: Pete Dunne
Unless you were watching Progress or Chikara, you didn’t see much of Dunne outside of the WWE UK Championship Tournament, and his subsequent matches where he won the UK title, then defended it throughout the year. He had some awesome matches against Tyler Bate at NXT TakeOver (where he won the title) and an NXT show near the end of the year that was on par, or better than some of the Nigel/Danielson matches.

Don’s previous winners:
2016: Broken Matt Hardy

GG: Andrade Cien Almas
This one is funny because he was a big star before even coming to WWE. And like what happens a lot in WWE, they civilized him to the point that he looked like he hated life inside the ring. But earlier in the year, I started to see him turn the corner and he’s absolutely my favorite guy at NXT. I would’ve said that before he beat Drew McIntyre for the NXT title.

GG’s previous winners:
2016: Jeff Cobb
2015: Timothy Thatcher
2014: The Usos

Who’s Next

Duan: Nikki Cross
Nikki understands her character like few others on the roster. I think they’ve been close to a major breakthrough with her a few times this year and it’s only a matter of time until something lands. When it does, she’ll be the most over female star in the company.

Duan’s previous winners:
2016: Pete Dunne
2015: Chad Gable
2014: Finn Balor
2013: Seth Rollins
2012: Bray Wyatt
2011: Justin Gabriel
2010: Dolph Ziggler

Alan: Darby Allin
Darby Allin might be the most driven wrestler in the business today, and for that reason I’m picking him as the guy to make huge waves in 2018. His level of improvement from show-to-show is noticeable and ever since his trainer Buddy Wayne passed away, he’s been like a man possessed to do BW proud. The former skateboarder now lives in his car as a way to pay tribute to Buddy’s “The Road Will Own You” saying, and is solely focused on traveling to shows and getting better. His look and character make him stand out amongst his peers and now his athletic skillset is really starting to come together. The death defying Seattle native is simply must-see.

Alan’s previous winners:
2016: Takuya Nomura
2015: El Lindaman
2014: Big R Shimizu
2013: Kalisto
2012: Dean Ambrose and Yuji Okabayashi
2011: Manabu Soya and Takumi Soya
2010: Tetsuya Naito

Don: Velveteen Dream
This guy started out as Patrick Clark with a throwaway Prince gimmick, and ended the year having his name chanted, and doing a throwback to Rick Rude. With one of the sweetest elbow drops, he’s bound to be NXT Champion within the year, and a possible spot on the main roster.

Don’s previous winners:
2016: American Alpha

GG: Jungle Boy (Jake Perry)
The last three years, I’ve used this award to showcase some of my Northern California wrestling favs. I think I’ve been pretty good with those picks as Jeff Cobb is on fire and Karl Fredericks is going to have some opportunities to excel in 2018. So why not go with Jungle Boy? It’s not because me and his dad Luke Perry are now best friends either. Jungle Boy has a unique charisma that my buddy John LaRocca saw early on. And he’s getting better and better with every show. It’s going to be fun to watch him get even better in 2018.

GG’s previous winners:
2016: Karl Fredericks
2015: Jeff Cobb
2014: Rusev
2013: Big E. Langston
2012: Antonio Cesaro and Wade Barrett
2011: Brodus Clay
2010: Dolph Ziggler

Be Sociable, Share!
Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *