For the 44th time, the Wrestling Observer gave out awards (not actual physical silverware unlike Fightful, just saying) to the best of the best from the year just completed and as per the norm, there was a lot of fat to chew from the results.
For those who may be unaware of the process of voting, voting is confined only to subscribers of the newsletter with those sending in their Top 3 in whatever categories they chose to vote in. Would we find some difference from what has been the consensus among fans in 2022. Would someone not called Tomohiro Ishii win Best Brawler, would WWE get more votes than in previous years and would Rossy Ogawa get his flowers in 2022.
My picks are in bold.
LOU THESZ/RIC FLAIR AWARD -
1. Jon Moxley (498)3,101
2. Roman Reigns (232)2,216
3. Will Ospreay (105) 1,591
4. Kazuchika Okada (39) 679
5. Syuri (34) 551
6. Chris Jericho (37)439
7. MJF (20)325
8. CM Punk (19)203
9. Giulia (17)199
10. Bryan Danielson 91
The in-ring vs Box Office debate for who was the more worthy WOTY has been won by the in-ring work of Jon Moxley. If you use the “Most Valuable” metric for your vote, Jon is the worthy winner. Mox in the chaotic main event picture of AEW’s summer of 2022 was the glue that held the top of the All Elite card together and with three million dollar gates with his name on the main event poster, Jon Moxley feels like the right pick for 2022 WOTY.
With Jon adding 2022 to his 2020 WOTY collection, it makes him the eighth guy to win two WON WOTY awards joining Harley Race, Ric Flair, Mitsuharu Misawa, Kenta Kobashi, Chris Jericho, Hiroshi Tanahashi, AJ Styles and John Cena with 2 WOTY wins and with Mox being the only member of the 2-time WOTY club not to be inducted into the Observer Hall of Fame, November time will be ripe for discussion about Jon Moxley’s HOF candidacy.
MMA MOST VALUABLE FIGHTER:
1. Isreal Adesanya (105) 866
2. Alexander Volkanovski (129) 825
3. Alex Pereira (57) 410
When you look at the numbers, Israel is the only pick that is sensible for this reward. 3 of the Top 4 UFC PPV buy rates for 2022 had Israel in the main event. In a business that while doesn't solely rely on PPV anymore thanks to the ESPN deal, PPV buyrate numbers should still be used as a metric on who fans want to spend money to see fight and Israel was that guy fans wanted to see fight in 2022.
MOST OUTSTANDING WRESTLER:
1. Will Ospreay (951)4,807
2. Bryan Danielson (92) 1,286
3. Kazuchika Okada (9) 703
4. Mike Bailey (9)536
5. Jon Moxley (11)398
6. Dax Harwood (18)384
7. Gunther (32)329
8. Syuri (10)289
9. Konosuke Takeshita241
10. Shingo Takagi (7) 240
Will Ospreay was hands down the best wrestler from bell to bell in 2022 as seen below where I taken the best 10 matches from all the Top 10 from Outstanding Wrestler plus two others and calculated an average from those matches and Ospreay's 0.37 gap to Kazuchika Okada in second is bigger than the gap between 2nd and 12th. For those who care, Gunther's average was 8.27
Averages of wrestlers Top 10 matches of 2022 on Cagematch
MOST OUTSTANDING FIGHTER: Alexander Volkanovski
1. Alexander Volkanovski (225)1,265
2. Alex Pereira (82) 663
3. Islam Makhachev (10) 482
4. Zhang Weili (25)378
While there were three fighters in the UFC that won 2+ title fights in the Octagon in 2022, Aljamain Stirling’s two victories’ came in a contentious points win over Petr Yan and a victory over a TJ Dillashaw that should not have been cleared for battle and while Zhang's two wins bought her Performance of the Night both times, Alex Volkanovski’s three title wins were dominant and while Alex Pereira’s three wins in 2022 might have been good enough to win him awards for Best fighter from MMAfighting, Yahoo and ESPN, the Observer voters took Volanovski’s dominance in the division as a worthy factor for their vote.
TAG TEAM OF THE YEAR
1. FTR (782)3,859
2. Mark & Jay Briscoe (54) 1,357
3. Young Bucks (38) 937
4. The Usos (40)856
5. The Acclaimed (32) 708
6. Aussie Open423
7. Penta El 0 M & Rey Fenix175
8. Tam Nakano & Natsupoi156
9. Hazumi & Koguma98
10. Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland86
With multiple ***** and 9.00+ matches on the Observer and Cagematch respectively, FTR had a phenomenal year and while Aussie Open had more matches over 7.00 on Cagematch, it was a case of quality over quantity in this category.
2022 Cagematch Ratings for Tag Teams
Aussie Open’s sixth place finish does feel off considering their stellar year in many promotions and a lack of Top 10 finish for Chris Brookes and Masahiro Takanashi shows how stacked the tag team ranks are in 2022
BEST ON INTERVIEWS -
1. MJF (486)2,984
2. Jon Moxley (152)1,561
3. CM Punk (79) 961
4. Sami Zayn (33)760
5. Eddie Kingston (23) 554
6. Paul Heyman (11)378
7. Kevin Owens (8)224
8. Jay White (24)208
9. Roman Reigns (9)185
10. Will Ospreay (12)164
A good sign for how MJF was the best talker in wrestling was that in a category dominated by AEW at least in the Top 5 was Maxwell winning Promo of the Week in our website's AEWeekly Roundtable the most times from it's inception in March 2022 despite MJF's three month absence from AEW.
However in bad news for AEW, they didn't have the majority of Top 10 attendees since the companies first time on the awards ballot in 2019 with AEW and WWE having 4 each in the 10
PROMOTION OF THE YEAR
1. All Elite Wrestling (480)3,270
2. Stardom (273)2,561
3. World Wrestling Entertainment 1,848
4. New Japan Pro Wrestling (23)1,799
5. Ultimate Fighting Championship (17) 634
6. Impact Wrestling 120
7. Dragon Gate (9)104
8. Pro Wrestling NOAH89
9. Game Changer Wrestling (6)80
Well, if AEW has won the most awards in this year's WON Awards, they were always winning this award. More on this later in the conclusions of the results.
BEST WEEKLY TV SHOW -
1. AEW Dynamite (753)4,020
2. WWE SmackDown (104)1,847
3. AEW Rampage 911
4. New Japan Strong (18)679
5. Impact Wrestling (16) 456
6. We Are Stardom (20) 333
7. WWE Raw210
8. NXT (15)176
Despite Dynamite ending up with double the votes of Smackdown, Dynamite and Smackdown had the same mode average with the each shows ending up with their highest tally of shows in the 7.99-7.50 bracket on Cagematch but Dynamite's 18 shows with a 8.00+ rating outlasts Smackdown's 5 above that same mark.
Rampage's third place is interesting when their mode average was 6.99-6.50 andwais lower than IMPACT and NJPW Strong and the downfall of the show being on of the major discourses in 2022.
PRO WRESTLING MATCH OF THE YEAR -
1. Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay 8/18 Tokyo (256)2,016
2. FTR vs. The Briscoes 12/10 Arlington, TX (244)1,824
3. Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay 1/5 Tokyo (104)1,359
4. FTR vs. The Briscoes 4/1 Garland, TX (98)836
5. Gunther vs. Sheamus 9/3 Cardiff (19) 393
6. Giulia vs. Syuri 12/29 Tokyo (44) 392
7. Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins 6/5 Chicago (34)347
8. Adam Page vs. Bryan Danielson 1/5 Newark (12)334
9. El Desperado vs. Jun Kasai 9/12 Tokyo (34)285
10. Will Ospreay vs. Michael Oku 1/29 London (36)279
On first glance, I did let out an audible "huh" during my lunch break at the Big Johns' near my work (please don't judge me for my lunch choice) and while I was one of many that voted for FTR/Briscoes III in my Voices Of Wrestling MOTY ballot in the No.1 spot, as seen below Okada vs Ospreay in the G1 final winning isn't exactly a miscarriage of justice.
MMA FIGHT OF THE YEAR -
1. Jiri Prochazka vs. Glover Teixeira 6/11 Kallang, Singapore (295)1,583
2. Dustin Poirier vs. Michael Chandler 11/12 New York (18)735
3. Khamzat Chimaev vs. Gilbert Burns 4/9 Jacksonville (16)375
Thought of as one of the great fights of all time by MMA pundits, It wasn’t a surprise that Prochazka/Texeira won Fight of the Year but on the Rushmore of Greatest Fights? Not for me, but that’s for another time and another jurisdiction.
"CATEGORY B" AWARDS. PICK ONE IN EACH CATEGORY. WINNER CHOSEN ON THE BASIS OF FIRST PLACE VOTES
UNITED STATES/CANADA PRO WRESTLING MVP -
1. JON MOXLEY 638
2. Roman Reigns 232
3.Chris Jericho 32
4. MJF 25
5. Bryan Danielson 19
6. Sami Zayn 10
7. Cody Rhodes 9
JAPAN MVP -
1. KAZUCHIKA OKADA 495
2. Will Ospreay 422
3. Syuri 125
While Jon Moxley winning USA MVP was the sensible option considering Mox’s WOTY win, the Japan MVP was more wide-open and while Okada is the face of Japan’s biggest promotion, his fine 2022 just doesn’t feel worthy of a MVP victory in Japanese wrestling in 2022.
While Will Ospreay’s in-ring work make him a worthy contender for the award, Syuri was the no.1 star and champ for a company that has been hitting uncharted heights in the last 12 months and finished ahead of their brother company in Best Promotion in these awards. So Syuri should have won right?
1. EL HIJO DEL VIKINGO 678
2. Mistico 79
3. Rey Fenix 50
4. Atlantis Jr. 49
5. Laredo Kid 19
6. Dragon Lee 17
7. Pentagon Jr. 13
El Hijo Del Vikingo was the star of lucha in 2022 with his matches getting massive playbacks on YouTube and have made him a big attraction for American bookings. His in-ring work in AAA refused to be camouflaged by the garish yellow background that attacks the senses. The son of Vikingo was the most valuable player in Mexico for the fact that he made you ignore the commentary over the loudspeakers drowning out any atmosphere when he wrestles. Is it obvious that I do not like AAA's production?
EUROPEAN MVP -
1. WILL OSPREAY 799
2. Michael Oku 95
THE PRO WRESTLING HODGE AWARD/NON-HEAVYWEIGHT MVP -
1. EL HIJO DEL VIKINGO 215
2. Darby Allin 164
3. El Desperado 124
4. Mike Bailey 111
WOMAN WRESTLING MVP
1. SYURI 455
2. Bianca Belair 201
3. Jamie Hayter 146
4. Giulia 138
5. Kairi 31
6. Becky Lynch 22
7. Miyu Yamashita 16
8. Rhea Ripley 8
9. AZM 7
For the reasons that I thought Syuri was Japan MVP, she deserves her Women’s MVP win but the interesting story is lack of AEW and WWE in the Top 10 (the four combined in this years award is fewest since the awards birth) which is an indictment of how bad the women's divisions were booked east of the Pacific Ocean.
WOMAN MMA MVP -
1. ZHANG WEILI 239
2. Amanda Nunes 62
3. Valentina Shevchenko 46
In a competitive three-way race for Women’s MMA MVP, Zhang Weili isn’t a surprise win but the massive gap of victory is.
While Zhang's two wins did earn her Performance of the Night awards, Amanda Nunes main evented a show that did a $4 million+ gate which was bigger than the PPV after which was a Kamaru Usman title defence and in Valentina Shevchenko’s sole fight of the year on the same night as Zhang vs Jelena and the Prochazka/Teixeira fight, the Kyrgyz fighter won fan bonus award showing her popularity.
BEST BOX OFFICE DRAW -
1. ISRAEL ADESANYA
2. Kamaru Usman
3. Nate Diaz
1. ROMAN REIGNS
2. John Cena
3. C.M. Punk
While Israel’s win is obvious as mentioned above, the Pro Wrestling section of Best Box Office Draw wasn’t.
Listeners to Wrestlenomics have been told data that shows that CM Punk was a frequent quarter hour riser, the PPV’s he was a major attraction on are the 5 highest PPV buy rates in AEW history, main evented two million-dollar gates and had 4 of the Top 10 selling merchandise on AEWShop and ProWrestlingTees for the year until All Out 2022
Roman Reigns according to the year-end attendance figures posted in the Observer in the Year in review issue had the most 10,000+ gates in 2022
John Cena in his two appearances on WWE television drew an enormous number and was responsible for a big spike in ticket sales for the final Smackdown of 2022 and the 20 Years of Cena edition of RAW.
Which of the following three makes the best case for Best Box Office Draw of 2022. As a stats nerd and someone who catalogues the End of Year numbers in the Observer, my vote goes to Roman Reigns. The interesting question to ask is, if John Cena having wrestled one match is WWE’s second biggest draw, is WWE really in great shape when it comes to the box office? But to be fair, maybe John Cena should have won for the fact I watched an average political thriller on Sky Cinema because John Cena is in a starring role.
FEUD OF THE YEAR -
1. FTR VS. MARK & JAY BRISCOE 362
2. C.M. Punk vs. MJF 347
3. Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins 34
4. Tam Nakano vs. Natsupoi 33
5. Elite vs. Death Triangle 32
6. Bloodline vs. Kevin Owens 25
7. Eddie Kingston vs. Chris Jericho 24
8. Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay 21
9. JAS VS. BCC 18
10. Giulia vs. Suzu Suzuki 9
It was a case of matches>story when it came to the winners for Feud of the Year. Whether it was the high quality of the trilogy, the recency bias of the final act of the rivalry, Jay’s tragic death playing into the voting or maybe an anti-Punk movement (more on that later) that played into the vote that’s for people who voted to answer but it’s not the first time that a matches based rivalry beat the story-based feud. Cole/Gargano beating Cody/Jericho in 2019, Okada/Omega winning in 2017 and Tanahashi/Okada going back-to-back in 2012 and 13 coming to mind.
Side note- Whoever voted for JAS vs Blackpool Combat Club, we need to have a chat.
MOST IMPROVED - My Pick- Sheamus
1. THE ACCLAIMED 164
2. Mina Shirakawa 159
3. Jamie Hayter 97
4. Wheeler Yuta 55
5. Dominik Mysterio 53
6. Ricky Starks 32
7. Powerhouse Hobbs 24
Chris Jericho 24
9. Giulia 23
10. Mirai 18
Nick Wayne 18
2021 to 2022 averages from Top 10 matches on Cagematch
(Singles matches only/Tag Matches only for The Acclaimed)
The Acclaimed's improvement in 2022 really came from Max Caster considering that Anthony Bowens had a very stellar 2021 (remember Bowens hanging with Bryan Danielson on Rampage?) and the likes of Jamie Hayter and Giulia's inclusion is interesting considering that improvement was really not there on the basis that their 2021 was great.
Chris Jericho though had a massive improvement in 2022 with an big increase in their average of Top 10 matches of the year on Cagematch from 2021 to 2022. Thanks to weight loss and great opponents, Chris has found the fountain of youth yet again and was the rightful winner if you look at the numbers
MOST CHARISMATIC - MJF
1. MJF 272
2. Sami Zayn 126
3. Roman Reigns 102
4. C.M. Punk 71
5. Giulia 67
6. Jon Moxley 44
7. The Acclaimed 36
8. Orange Cassidy 33
9. Suzu Suzuki 26
10. Ricky Starks 24
You’d think that the winner of Most Charismatic would come from the winner of Best of Interviews but in the 40 years of the Awards, only eight times before 2022 has someone won both awards in the same year (Steve Austin 1997-98, Rock- 99-00, Eddie Guerrero- 05, John Cena-07, Connor McGregor-2016, Chris Jericho-2019)
BRYAN DANIELSON BEST TECHNICAL WRESTLER AWARD
1. BRYAN DANIELSON 464
2. Zack Sabre Jr. 317
3. Daniel Garcia 30
4. Syuri 26
My biggest take on this is I can’t wait for Danielson vs Sabre Jr.
BRUISER BRODY MEMORIAL BEST BRAWLER AWARD - Jon Moxley
1. JON MOXLEY 576
2. Tomohiro Ishii 134
3. Minoru Suzuki 75
4. Eddie Kingston 38
5. Gunther 26
6. Jay Briscoe 20
7. Suzu Suzuki 18
Moxley now joins Bruiser Brody, Mick Foley (who has won the award 10 times so should that make this award the Mick Foley Award), Tomohiro Ishii and Kevin Owens, nee Steen as 3+ time winners.
Fun fact- 29 of the 44 Best Brawler Awards has gone to one of the five mentioned.
BEST FLYING WRESTLER -
1. EL HIJO DEL VIKINGO 472
2. Rey Fenix 351
3. Dante Martin 44
4. Komander 41
5. Will Ospreay 31
6. Ninja Mack 19
7. Mike Bailey 12
MOST UNDERRATED - Shingo Takagi
1. KONOSUKE TAKESHITA 114
2. Chad Gable 98
3. Ricochet 65
4. Mustafa Ali 49
5. Ricky Starks 32
6. Eddie Kingston 31
7. Riho 27
8. Utami Hayashishita 25
9. Malakai Black 24
10. Sarray 23
HONORABLE MENTION: Sasha Banks 22, Hikaru Shida 20, Yoshiki Inamura 19,Shingo Takagi 18, Matt Riddle 17,Tyler Bate 16, Lance Archer 15, Emi Sakura 15, QT Marshall 13, FTR 12
Better known as the “Push this guy, you idiot” Award, a non-WWE wrestler has won this award for the first time since 1998.
The question to be asked is Takeshita under pushed? Seen as a guy who has great matches but loses to top guys, there are quite a few in the Top 10 plus Honorable Mentions that would love to be under pushed like Konosuke Takeshita. Sarray and Lance Archer can’t get onto TV right now and Shingo Takagi was stuck in the “Vince Russo Division” better known as the KOPW Title picture. Some of the inclusions are harsh. Chad Gable is in a great position in the mid-card, Ricochet is in a better position than this time last year (he needs to get away from Braun Strowman ASAP though) Ricky Starks was in a World Title match at the end of the year and Riho has visa problems which means she can’t appear on television.
Side Note- Those 13 people who voted for QT Marshall, I want to hug you. QT is the modern generation’s Larry Zbyszko and no-one will ever change my mind on that.
MOST OVERRATED -
1. RONDA ROUSEY 159
2. Tyrus 145
3. Roman Reigns 112
4. C.M. Punk 68
5. Austin Theory 66
6. Bray Wyatt 56
7. Kazuyuki Fujita 51
8. Jade Cargill 42
9. Mandy Rose 40
10. Karrion Kross 39
HONORABLE MENTION: Baron Corbin 35, Jon Moxley 23, Brock Lesnar17, MJF 13, Britt Baker 12, Saraya 12, Tay Melo 11, Wardlow 11
Better known as the “Stop pushing them, you idiot Award” Rousey’s win is due to a) her being rubbish in 2022 but b) people’s disappointment that her second run has been so underwhelming. But Tyrus is my hands down winner for the case that he’s NWA Champion even though he gasses out whenever he blinks.
While four of the Top 10 in the WOTY Poll ended up with votes in this category, Roman Reigns will always get votes because he is Roman Reigns and Jon Moxley will always have his detractors, the Punk vote just feels like it’s out of spite for the events of All Out and while I’m #TeamElite voting for Punk in Most Overrated just feels petty.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
1. BRON BREAKKER 339
2. Hook 261
3. Logan Paul 152
4. Tomoka Inaba 67
5. Solo Sikoa 65
6. Takuma Fujiwara 63
7. Ami Sohrei 19
8. Mochizuki Jr. 19
9. Nick Wayne 17
10. Sawyer Wreck 16
Bron Breakker's volume of work in 2022 seems to have been the deciding factor in this category with Hook only having one match over 5 minutes and Logan Paul wrestling just 2 singles matches. Nick Wayne's lack of votes was a surprise though with his amount of matches above 7.00 on Cagematch higher than Bron and his links with the Observer/F4WOnline family with his father Buddy having been Bryan Alvarez's trainer.
What also needs to be mentioned is that Tomoka Inaba and Ami Sourei (not Sohrei) should not be claasified as rookies by the metric of this category with both having wrestled matches before September 2021 (in Sourei's case she wrestled matches in 2020).
Cagematch ratings (Tag Team matches not included)
BEST NON-WRESTLER PERFORMER -
1. PAUL HEYMAN 384
2. William Regal 255
3, Don Callis 80
4. Stokely Hathaway 72
5. Rick Ross ` 33
6. Brandon Cutler 31
In the 24 year history of this particular award, Paul Heyman has won this award nine times. You can’t say anything else about this. Paul Heyman is a fantastic pro wrestling performer.
I just want to mention three things. a) Rick Ross getting fifth probably because of “you’re a big motherfucker” warms my heart, b) Brandon Cutler 100% deserves his flowers for his role in The Elite and c) No-one voting for Alex Abrahantes shows that democracy does actually work.
BEST TELEVISION ANNOUNCER
1. KEVIN KELLY 332
2. Excalibur 308
3. Ian Riccaboni 71
4. Taz 60
5. Pat McAfee 47
6. Chris Charlton 39
7. Tony Schiavone 30
8. Michael Cole 23
9. Jae Church 19
10. Stewart Fulton 10
Picking between Kevin Kelly and Excalibur is like picking between a Meat Feast or BBQ chicken Pizza and while I thought Excalibur had a better year, you can’t complain with a Kevin Kelly win.
One complaint though is no Veda Scott or Caprice Coleman in the Top 10.
WORST TELEVISION ANNOUNCER
1. COREY GRAVES 191
2. Booker T 183
3. Jim Ross 157
4. Michael Cole 61
5. Kevin Patrick 59
6. Pat McAfee 55
7. Chris Jericho 36
8. Velvet Sky 20
9. Tony Schiavone 19
Alex Kozlov 19
One of the more amusing moments of the Michael Cole/Pat McAfee bromance is that whenever Cole talks about McAfee reinvigorating his love of his job, it’s English for “Thank God, I don’t have to work with Corey Graves anymore". While the movie Requiem For A Dream has more charm than a Corey Graves commentary, he still isn’t the worst commentator of 2022. That honour belongs to Booker T.
Listening to Booker T commentate reminds me of the Floyd Wetherton character from Family Guy. No one knows what he's actually talking about and his colleagues are basically humouring him. I’m still sure that Grayson Waller messing with Booker T on NXT in the last few months makes him a babyface now.
Side Note-If you voted for Tony Schiavone for Worst Announcer, I’m presuming you are responsible for heinous crimes.
21. BEST MAJOR SHOW -
1. AEW/NJPW FORBIDDEN DOOR 6/26 CHICAGO 524
2. AEW Revolution 3/6 Orlando 136
3. WWE WrestleMania Night One 4/2 Arlington, TX 64
4. Stardom Five Star Grand Prix finals 10/1 Tokyo 54
5. WWE Clash at the Castle 9/3 Cardiff 41
6. AEW Double or Nothing 5/29 Las Vegas 27
7. TakaTaiochiDespeMania 9/12 Tokyo 21
8. NJPW WrestleKingdom 1/4 Tokyo Dome 18
One of the most eagerly awaited PPV's in awhile upon announcement lived up to expectations despite the muddled build-up with multiple matches over 8.00 on Cagematch and the average Meltzer rating of 4 1/2 stars one of the highest in history.
There were some surprises in the Top 8 with Double or Nothing and Wrestle Kingdom Night 1 (I won't be surprised if I see a retraction next week saying it was actually Night 2 instead that got the number of votes night 1 did) in the list
WORST MAJOR SHOW OF THE YEAR -
1. WWE ROYAL RUMBLE 1/25 ST. LOUIS 311
2. WWE Elimination Chamber 2/19 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia 129
3. GCW The Wrld 1/23 New York 112
4. JCP Ric Flair’s Last match 7/31 Nashville 98
5. NWA Hard Times 11/12 Chalmette, LA 69
6. WWE Crown Jewel 11/5 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 59
7. WWE WrestleMania Night two 4/3 Arlington, TX 31
8. WWE NXT Halloween Havoc 10/22 Orlando, FL 22
9. AEW All Out 9/5 Chicago 16
WWE Extreme Rules 10/8 Philadelphia 16
The Royal Rumble was every bit as bad as the numbers tell you. From the end of the Universal Title Match being hot garbage with no follow-up and the main event being the worst Royal Rumble ever. The Rumble felt like the prime of the disasterclass that was Vince's Reign of terror in the past decade
All Out probably got votes because of the Gripebomb. The biggest fault of the show to quote the boys of OSW Review was that it was fine but by AEW's standards in the past, it was not good enough. But with it's Cagematch rating being 0.02 higher than Double or Nothing and it's average CM match rating higher than DoN, it feels out of place in the Worst Show poll
BEST WRESTLING MANEUVER -
1. WILL OSPREAY HIDDEN BLADE 117
2. Adam Page Buckshot lariat 96
3. Kenny Omega One Winged Angel 68
4. Darby Allin coffin drop 34
5. Wardlow power bomb symphony 31
MOST DISGUSTING PROMOTIONAL TACTIC -
1. WWE VINCE MCMAHON APPEARING ON TELEVISION FOR A CROWD POP AFTER SEXUAL MISCONDUCT ALLEGATIONS CAME OUT 704
2. WWE continues relationship with Saudi Arabia 110
3. Ric Flair’s last match 80
4. WWE Stephanie McMahon’s goodbye to Vince on television 33
5. AEW not punishing C.M. Punk after live callout of Adam Page 18
6. AEW Tony Khan’s handling of Punk/Young Bucks situation 12
Vince was always going to Vince in this situation wasn't he? The WWE’s #Metoo moment would see Vince McMahon take the situation and use it as a ratings grab appearing on Smackdown in which he gave a shorter than short speech. It wasn't surprising in all honesty but it doesn't make it less icky and a moment earlier in that day when in a CNN report it was revealed that Vince would appear on that night's Smackdown, Jake Tapper would just say “of course he is” and that sums up the situation the best.
Of course ratings were up on the previous week because society as a whole is curious and they were curious about what would happen and of course Vince appeared on RAW to carry on the ratings grab.
The next few weeks would see Vince “retire” and WWE would live happily ever after away from the scary godfather. Oh wait…….
WORST TELEVISION SHOW -
1. WWE RAW 415
2. WWE NXT 327
3. NWA Powerrr 98
4. AEW Rampage 95
5. Women Of Wrestling 66
Let's be honest, RAW is still a bad show. Whether it's the 3 hours, the dull as ditchwater action or the fact that Smackdown is the prime focus in a period where WWE are looking to extend their deal with FOX, RAW feels like a second class show right now.
WORST MATCH OF THE YEAR -
1. PAT MCAFEE VS. VINCE MCMAHON 4/3 ARLINGTON, TX 435
2. Ric Flair & Andrade vs. Jeff Jarrett & Jay Lethal 7/31 Nashville 169
3. Ronda Rousey vs. Shotzi 11/26 Boston 71
4. Men’s Royal Rumble 1/29 St. Louis 46
5. Matt Cardona vs. Trevor Murdoch vs. Tyrus 11/12 Chalmette, LA 17
Sami Zayn vs. Johnny Knoxville 4/3 Arlington, TX 17
7. Casino Royale ladder match 9/4 Chicago 14
If only Ric Flair actually had his last match at Wrestlemania 24. While Vince vs McAffee was terrible, there was a weird funny element to the terribleness of it all including THAT Stunner, Ric Flair’s last match was just sad. Waking up the next morning to look at the results hoping that a man did not die in the ring is not how I want to consume my wrestling.
Had Vince McMahon not done Vince McMahon things with his appearance on Smackdown after the allegations against him surfaced, this match would have been my Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic. The whole thing felt horrible and icky. Dave Meltzer wrote in his review of Flair's Last match that wrestling is supposed to make you feel happy or mad. This match just made you feel sad. I couldn't put it better myself.
Side Note- I’m presuming those that voted for Sami Zayn vs Johnny Knoxville are not fun at parties.
WORST FEUD OF THE YEAR
1. THE MIZ VS. DEXTER LUMIS 208
2. Ronda Rousey vs. Liv Morgan 76
3. Bray Wyatt vs. LA Knight 62
4. Sammy Guevara vs. Scorpio Sky 39
5. Bron Breakker vs. Joe Gacy 36
6. Kevin Owens vs. Ezekiel 31
7. Drew McIntyre vs. Happy Corbin 29
8. Rose Namajunas vs. Carla Esparza 20
C.M. Punk vs. MJF 20
10. Britt Baker vs. Saraya 19
Going over the results, I realised a couple of things. 1) Dexter Lumis away from Indi Hartwell is rubbish (and vice versa) 2) Liv Morgan might be as bad as Ronda 3) The fans turning on Sammy should be used as a case study for behaviour in male wrestling fans and 4) I remembered Namajunas/Esparza II and oh dear god.
Also, I see the anti-Punk people were having their fun while voting or many Lance Storm just spammed the vote on this particular category.
28. WORST PROMOTION - NWA
1. WWE 376
2. NWA 359
3. Control Your Narrative 81
4. AAA 49
5. GCW 39
6. CMLL 32
7. Pro Wrestling NOAH 30
8. Impact Wrestling 30
9. MLW 16
As I will go through in the next category, WWE isn't as good as some people think it is but Worst Promotion? Seriously?
NWA has been the case study in how not to run a wrestling promotion. Putting their main belt on a wrestler that blows up when he hears the bell ring who just happens to be a presenter of a television show on a channel that hardly anyone watches (Is Fox Nation the US' Talk TV) and has more championships defended on their PPVs than AEW does is the anthesis of success.
CYN is the behaviour of a man so out of this world that you feel you need to call social services on in EC3 and MLW is MLW.
Side Note- I'm presuming those 30 people that voted for Impact wake at 3am every morning screaming when they've re-lived 2010 TNA in a nightmare.
BEST BOOKER - Rossy Ogawa
1. TONY KHAN 372
2. Rossy Ogawa 327
3. Paul Levesque 183
4. Gedo 40
5. Sean Shelby/Mick Maynard 36
6. Scott D’Amore 31
7. Shawn Michaels 20
I usually don’t comment on this. And for the first six months of the year you can make the argument. But WWE and AEW as businesses were in the same position with one much larger but the clear-cut 1-2 in the world all year. However, it was WWE that grew all year while AEW did not do nearly as well in comparison over the last eight months. You can argue bad luck or injuries, but in a coach of he year award, one team doing so much better in comparison at the end as compared to the beginning, that coach is going to win. Injuries are part of the game and regrouping and rebounding from them are as well. A comparison of the promotion of the returns of Cody Rhodes, C.M. Punk and Kenny Omega is so greatly in one side’s favor. Yes, AEW did create an environment on television and PPV to have far more great matches, and while some of the WWE’s growth relates to the stadium shows, a lot also relates to the aura of Roman Reigns, which is a creative issue, and the Bloodline angle, which is booking, and the most effective long-term angle in years. While the angle got stronger in 2023 where it doesn’t count for this balloting, it was still the strongest in 2022. In addition, whether you are a fan of Bray Wyatt or not, that out of the box thinking building up his return was a huge short-term interest level success. Even if Paul Heyman and Reigns played a huge part in one story and Wyatt himself in the other, the overseeing guy is Levesque- Dave Meltzer
Reading the above and Meltzer telling people off for not voting for Paul Levesque might be funnier than that time he told people off for voting Michaels vs Ramon instead of Misawa vs Kawada as MOTY in the 1994 awards.
Was TK’s 2022 as good as his 2019 to 2021? No, and they're reasons for that. The chaos that surrounded AEW in the summer/autumn (some of it Tony's own making) hampered him for sure and the family situation he was going through made the second half of 2022 understandably difficult with the pencil for Tony.
But I need to ask the question again, apart from Sami/KO/Bloodline and Gunther being Gunther, was WWE in 2022 actually good after Levesque took over.
The winner should have been Rossy Ogawa. Stardom’s rise in the last year and further back has to be attributed to Rossy and his creative. A well booked title picture, great stories being told, Rossy is the reason Stardom is in the position they are in.
PROMOTER OF THE YEAR
1. TONY KHAN 415
2. Dana White 287
3. Rossy Ogawa 198
4. Paul Levesque 86
5. Nick Khan 78
6. Takaaki Kidani 23
7. Stephanie McMahon 17
8. Vince McMahon 16
Whether or not we agree with TK’s prowess as a booker during 2022, Tony as a promoter is undeniable with the multiple million dollar gates during the past year. If you had said to me 6 years ago that a company that wasn’t WWE would achieve such, I'd have thought you should have taken a drug test. Hell, Dave Meltzer and Cody Rhodes had a bet on whether a 10,000 gate could be possible by a non-WWE company and Dave took that bet on because he thought it wasn’t possible. Tony Khan is pound for pound the best promoter in wrestling at the moment and anyone who disagrees has intentions that are not honourable.
Also, I’m guessing Ariel Helawani voted for Nick Khan 78 times.
BEST GIMMICK -
1. SAMI ZAYN ` 332
2. The Acclaimed 110
3. Danhausen 108
4. Bloodline/Roman Reigns 106
5. Orange Cassidy 60
6. Blackpool Combat Club 33
7. Jericho Appreciation Society 26
8. MJF 20
9. Great O’Khan 19
10. Adam Page 14
In my opinion, there has been no more compelling character in pro wrestling in 2022 than MJF. From the reveals of the anti-Semitism in THAT promo and how CM Punk leaving pro wrestling affected him to how he used William Regal’s rejection to motivate him, MJF showed his character to be as more than a trust fund baby who grew up to be a terrible human being and while Sami Zayn was fun television during 2022, can someone tell me what Sami’s gimmick actually is and no, wanting to be Romans friend is not a gimmick.
WORST GIMMICK -
1. MAXIMUM MALE MODELS 119
2. Uncle Howdy 112
3, Kip Sabian 79
4. Joe Gacy/Schism 65
5. Bray Wyatt 46
6. Seth Rollins 44
7. Nikki ASH 38
8. Scrypts 34
9. Baron Corbin 26
First off, anyone who quotes OSW Review in their promos is alright by me. So, continue doing you Maximum Male Models.
Let's talk about Bray shall we. Remember when Bray was being Bray before he got released and that it was Vince McMahon that didn't get Bray. Now while Vince is a crazy old man who on the professional front lost his “magic touch” two decades ago, the last five months have proved that it wasn't Vince not getting Bray but Bray just being rubbish. Credit to the guy for taking money off two regimes with his "ooooh, I'm scary" routine.
BEST WRESTLING BOOK - There's Just One Problem-Brian Gerwitz
1. BLOOD & FIRE BY BRIAN SOLOMON 152
2. There’s Just One Problem By Brian Gewirtz 114
3. Dynamite & Davey by Stephen Bell 58
4. Wrestling Observer Yearbook 95 by Dave Meltzer 24
5. The Muto Years by Johnathan Foye 17
I only read two of the above five and that was There's Just One Problem by Brian Gerwitz (which was good) and the 95 Yearbook (which is just a compilation of the newsletters from that year.
BEST PRO WRESTLING DVD/STREAMING DOCUMENTARY -
1. TALES FROM THE TERRITORIES: LAWLER/KAUFMAN 71
2. Dangerous Breed: Crime, Cons, Cats, Teddy Hart 63
3. Tales from the Territories: Mid South 59
4. The Nine Lives of Vince McMahon 42
5. Tales from the Territories: Portland 28
6. Tales from the Territories: Memphis 26
7. A & E Biography: Lex Luger 24
8. Tales from the Territories: World Class 23
9. Wooo: Becoming Ric Flair 17
10. A & E Biography: Undertaker 16
As is the norm over the last few years, the Vice TV documentaries have dominated the voting in this award and this year the Lawler/Kaufman documentary was the best of the Vice bunch. I will say that a lack of votes for the Florida episode of Tale from the Territories was surprising as was the amount of votes for the Nine Lives of Vince doc considering it was essentially a completion episode of shitty things Vince has done that had been documented on Dark Side of the Ring.
In the 24 hours post the publishing of the awards, you saw the usual moaning of WWE fanboys moaning about AEW bias in the awards. But this year, you saw AEW fans online complain about the awards. So that means that the awards must be fair if everyone is mad right?
So what is the truth. Like always it's somewhere in the middle. Will Ospreay winning the most awards with four makes sense when he had the year he had and AEW winning the most awards does correspond with their win in Best Promotion but when you dive into the numbers, it tells an interesting story.
Of the three full years that AEW have been a thing, their awards tally is the worst it's been in 2022 at 12 awards but it's still double of NJPW's wins. But NJPW trebled the amount of wins from 2021. So, let's talk about the elephant in the room. New Japan is back.
While the pandemic did a number on NJPW with Japan's cautious approach to Coronavirus being in contrast to let's say Florida, Gedo for some reason deciding to become Vince Russo really didn't help matters (they put the IWGP belt on EVIL ffs) but 2022 saw light at the end of the tunnel and with MOTY probably sown up with Omega vs Ospreay at the Dome and Okada finally being interesting again after coasting for almost 3 years, NJPW feels great again.
WWE was a tale of two halves in 2022. Crazy old man Vince showed how outdated his philosophy of wrestling was and when Paul Levesque took over things did get better. But again, I ask, Bloodline/Sami/KO and Gunther aside, is WWE actually good? The answer is no.
WWE's Womens division is worst than anytime in the final 5 years of Vince-ism, the returnees from Vince and Nick's firing spree have proved why even TK's kid in a candy store hiring spree didn't go near the likes of Kross, Nox, Lumis and the rubbish ones from Hit Row, Miz vs Lumis happened under Paul's watch and it's a reflection on Triple H that he hasn't told both Bray and Seth to "Stop It"
AEW's faults have been covered elsewhere. Brawl Out ended being a milestone round the companies' neck (for which the voters really do blame Punk for judging by the voting) and some weird booking dragged down the product but Moxley was WOTY, FTR's team of the year award might have been based on the Briscoe trilogy but the foundation of their 2022 was in AEW. The Card of the Year was an AEW production and the rest of the awards do not feel like bad calls. AEW was Promotion of the Year but while 2020 and 2021 felt like A grade years, 2022 was a B.