Welcome to the first ever Wrestleaholic Awards! For the last month of 2017 into the first month of 2018, we allowed you the fans to vote on the categories below. That means you decided who won each category, and you had the final say.
The only part we here at Wrestleaholic had in this process was tallying the results, and writing why the contest was won by each of the competitors.
We’re not going to lie to you, some of the results were shocking, like the fact that the wrestler who won “Male Wrestler of the Year,” won by a landslide.
While it wasn’t surprising to see which company won “Promotion of the Year” with an overwhelming 79% of the vote. Once again, we’re not going to tell you who, but it probably won’t be a surprise to you when you figure it out.
So, here is who you picked to win.
Men’s Wrestler of the Year: AJ Styles | 48%
Tied for Second: Omega, Okada, and Cody | 14%
By: Mike Naecker | Wrestleaholic
2017 was another “phenomenal” year for AJ Styles. He entered the year as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. He had another 5 star classic with John Cena, even though coming out on the losing end. He entered a feud with Smackdown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon, putting on a hell of a match to open WrestleMania 33.
Shortly after Mania, he became involved in the U.S. Title picture, capturing the prestigious title twice with amazing matches against Kevin Owens.
Before Survivor Series, he captured his second WWE Title, beating Jinder Mahal and altering the Champion vs. Champion match at Survivor Series. At that show, he had another 5-star match against the Beast Incarnate, WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar.
As 2017 came to a close, Styles was able to successfully retain his WWE title against Mahal at Clash of Champions.
Looking forward to 2018, Smackdown Live is in great hands with AJ Styles as champion. Let’s hope he can hold onto the title and main event WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans. If he can, it would be too sweet!
Women’s Wrestler of the Year: Alexa Bliss |52%
Second Asuka | 38%
By: Shannon Townsend | Married Marks Podcast
It takes a unique superstar to overcome creative challenge while remaining a fan favorite, and few stars in the WWE have done this as well as Alexa Bliss.
Bliss had a strong start to 2017 with her title defense against Becky Lynch on SmackDown, but her losing the belt a month later to Naomi at Elimination Chamber seemed to slow Bliss’ momentum, leaving fans scratching their heads.
Thus began a rocky storyline for the ‘Goddess’ of the WWE, which would see her become a two-time SmackDown Women’s Champion only to have her alliances crumble. Through title losses and transfers, Alexa once again rose to the top as the first woman to hold both the SmackDown and Raw women’s titles.
But 2017 would also place the burden of arguably the worst promo AND one of the worst matches of the year at her feet. Through it all, she remained an adored superstar.
Bliss has a charisma that stands out in the WWE, despite creative’s best efforts to derail her train. Her ability to use cadence to shut down unruly crowds without alienating them is something that other stars in the company continually fail to do.
Bliss connects with fans of all ages, making her stand out in an era where women’s wrestling is still fighting to be a prevalent and respected as part of the sports entertainment landscape. If we can expect more of Alexa Bliss’s ferocity and determination in 2018, then the future of women in the WWE looks very bright.
Tag Team of the Year: The Usos | 52%
Second The Young Bucks | 43%
By Brendan Mizgala | Wrestleaholic & Daily DDT
Jimmy and Jey Uso have used 2017 to give their careers a major shot in the arm. The brothers were known as an ultra-talented tag team in the ring and for their colorful gear and face paint outside of the ring. This year, however, they decided to give themselves a revamp. When it seemed like they were stuck in a gatekeeper position, The Usos didn’t accept it. With a full 180 degrees from their characters, they traded in the colorful paint for jeans and hoodies.
What really sent The Usos to the next level was the quality of matches they had during the year. In what felt like a year-long rivalry with The New Day, both teams elevated the tag division to new heights. For many of the outlets where the teams faced, their matches would steal the show. Now when The Usos make their entrance, instead of turning the channel fodder, they grab your attention.
With their quick promos on the way to the ring, high flying arsenal, and rough rider attitude, The Usos have elevated their careers. Now with the calendar flipped to 2018 and their stranglehold tight on the SmackDown Live Tag Team Titles, the future is bright for the brothers. Don’t pass up on The Usos, those of us that have been down since that day one ish are card-carrying members of the Usos Penitentiary.
Shock Moment of the Year: Jericho Attacks Omega |57 %
Second Ciampa Turns on Gargano | 29%
By: Zak Warner | Wrestleaholic
In an industry that has to deal with spoilers on an almost daily basis, very rarely does something happen that is considered to be a shock. Sure, a surprise win here or there happens every so often, but that’s likely due to a last minute change. Keeping stuff under wraps is borderline impossible with modern technology, but New Japan Pro Wrestling pulled off what many would consider the most shocking moment of the year.
There had been whispers of Kenny Omega versus Chris Jericho for some time. Back and forth barbs on Twitter sparked the idea, and on December 11th in Fukuoka, Japan we got to see Jericho on the big screen taunting Kenny about their match at Wrestle Kingdom 12.
When the lights came back on, Jericho was in the ring behind Kenny, waiting to attack. Nobody thought that Jericho would step foot in Japan before their match, and one can’t help but feel the same way Kevin Kelly seemed to. Pure and utter shock echoed in the arena as it was clear nobody had anticipated this.
It was entirely unheard of at the time, this sort of thing is more often seen in Western promotions.
In one night though, Jericho was able to provide us all with a moment that will go down as one of the most shocking moments not only of 2017 but of all time.
Match of the Year: Okada vs. Omega: NJPW Dominion | 33%
Tied for Second | Omega vs Okada: WK11 & Dunne vs Bate: TakeOver Chicago | 29%
By: Dominic Punt | Wrestleaholic & Solent Championship
Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada worked wonderfully together in their IWGP Championship match at Wrestle Kingdom 11. So much so, in fact, that a rematch between the two was inevitable.
The second outing between the leader of Bullet Club and the Rainmaker told another story in which the challenger Omega did everything he could to try and topple the seemingly untouchable Okada. Osaka hosted the sequel at NJPW’s Dominion show and went to greater heights. Omega’s valiant efforts alongside Okada’s physical striking told one the greatest underdog stories in professional wrestling.
Unlike WWE, New Japan wrestles to a strict time-limit, which was the eventual decider in the rematch as Okada failed to crawl over to a prone Omega before time ran out.
It’s funny how the only real challenger in beating this contest to match of the year was the other two matches that Okada and Omega put on; with the Wrestle Kingdom 11 match in January and the match during the G1 Climax in August both equally as brilliant.
The Dominion match slightly tops the over contests in the work-rate put in from both The Cleaner and The Rainmaker, including a stunning spot in which Omega avoided Okada’s finishing move by falling to his knees with exhaustion.
WWE will have to put on some real spectacles this year to topple New Japan’s match dominance, but Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate did put on an incredible display in WWE’s best match of the year
Promotion of the Year: New Japan Pro Wrestling | 79%
Tied for Second | WWE & ROH | 7%
By: Tim Sherry | Contributor DailyDDT
Any time a calendar year for a promotion begins with a show like Wrestle Kingdom 11; you know that something special is in the works. And that was the case in spades for New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2017. On that night in Tokyo, the roster put on one of the greatest professional wrestling shows of all time, capped off by one of the greatest matches in the history of the business in the form of a Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada main event
Starting off that hot may have been a problem for another wrestling promotion. How could one company keep up that level of standard? But when you have some of the greatest global talents the world has ever seen all competing at the same time under one banner, NJPW proved it was no problem.
After the brilliance of WK11, they followed up with the following month with another stirring show at The New Beginning in Osaka. They then rode the momentum through the summer where they put on quite possibly the greatest tournament of all time as their superstars went to battle through July and August in the G1 Climax. They then kept the trend going into November as Power Struggle became another of the years best shows.
The year told many tremendous stories. There was the dominance of Okada as he zeroed in on over 600 days as IWGP Champ. There was the rise to super-stardom of Kenny Omega. The four-year in the making story of Tetsuya Naito as he became one of the most begrudgingly popular wrestlers in the company. The Juniors were well represented in both singles and tag team divisions and the factions that have ruled NJPW were never stronger.
For all these reasons and so many more, NJPW was the best promotion of 2017, and it continues to distance itself from the WWE regarding quality wrestling. If the trend continues, look for Vince to finally have a legitimate dance partner for the best company even in the United States.