Feud of the Year – Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada
It had to be this. This feud gave us two of the greatest matches of all time and third match that was a fitting finale to their rivarlry.
Runner -ups – Asuka vs Ember Moon; KUSHIDA vs Will Ospreay
Most Improved Wrestler of the Year – Tetsuya Naito
Naito was my runner-up for this category in 2016 and in 2017 he upped his game even further. He’s ascended to the top tier of New Japan.
Runner-Up – Jinder Mahal
Wrestler of the Year – Kenny Omega
No wrestler dominated the headlines in 2017 more than Omega. First it was the 6th star match, then it was whether he would leave Japan and join the WWE, then it was another 6th star match, and then it was headlining NJPW’s first US show. He was the most ubiquitous wrestler of the year and also happened to be most talented in-ring performer.
Runner- Ups – Alexa Bliss, AJ Styles
MVP of the Year – the Miz
The Miz might not be the ring general of an Omega or an AJ Styles, but he is becoming more important to the WWE every year. Every time they need to introduce a new talent they pit them against the Miz. Any time they need to push a mid-card talent up higher on the card they pit them against the Miz. He’s become the WWE’s star-maker.
Runner – Up – AJ Styles
Promotion of the Year – NJPW
The WWE was fairly predictable in 2017 and Lucha Underground just couldn’t hold the same narrative sway they’ve held in past seasons. New Japan is the easy choice here, they had the greatest matches, they had the most interesting debuts, and their twists and surprises were the most interesting. A lot of top talent left for WWE in 2016, and in 2017 NJPW filled that void with new debuts and elevating existing talent. They picked the right talent, because in 2017 NJPW firmly established itself as the clear #2 promotion int he world.
Runner-Up – WWE
Event of the Year – Ultima Lucha Tres
Despite Lucha Underground stumbling a bit in Year Three, their end of season special was the easily best wrestling event of the year. Storylines continued, new stories were introduced, rivalries ended and continued, and the matches were all killer. And it wasn’t predictable, like so much of what happens in WWE and even NJPW PPVs. Lucha Underground is willing to take chances and that makes it much more interesting.
Runner-Up – NXT TakeOver: Chicago