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  • Connor Ewens

End of Year Pro Wrestling Awards 2023

Welcome to the first ever Tope Con Hello Awards, we will take a deep dive through the previous year and look at the very best and very worst it had to offer. 2023 was another very good year in wrestling, plenty of great matches and plenty of iconic moments that us fans will surely not forget. I'm writing this in mid-December under the pretense that the last 3 shows I will be reviewing (Deadline, Final Battle & Worlds End) are not going to impact my picks too much, but I may be proven foolish. I usually do a mini ramble of what we can expect to talk about today, but I just want to dive right into the awards. Remember now, my opinion isn't fact, it's just my opinion. Without further ado, let's begin the ceremony!


Tito Santana Award (most underrated)

Each award will be named, and I think Tito Santana is a legend who fully encapsulates what it means to be an underrated talent. I originally had about 15 names shortlisted for this one but I've wittled it down to a top 10:

10) Kenny King - His rival Joe Hendry said in an interview in July that King is one of the most underrated wrestlers on the planet, and he isn't wrong. He is a 20+ year veteran who I think has been slept on for much of his career.

9) Ethan Page - I predicted big things for Ethan when he left Impact to join AEW, but nothing has seemed to materialise for him. More than capable in the ring, Page's star quality comes from his wicked charm and undeniable mic skills. Plus he's so damn handsome. Page is more than deserving of a championship run in AEW, hopefully it's a matter of if not when.

8) Bronson Reed - The big Australian has drawn comparisons to Samoa Joe, which is a flattering but justified link to make. Reed was shockingly cut during his hottest run in NXT back in 2021 but made his return in 2022 and he has been in beast mode since. He has been involved in some great matches this year and he should be rewarded with a midcard championship run.

7) LA Knight (yeah!) - I was hesitant to include Knight because he has main evented a show against Roman Reigns as well as team up with John Cena, but I still think he is deserving of a place. He spent the first half of the year barely being featured prominently enough and it wasn't until post-Summerslam where fan investment made sure WWE could not ignore his popularity for much longer. It'll be interesting to see how his 2024 shapes up.

6) Daniel Garcia - Remember last year when Garcia had that career defining match with Danielson and we were all like "this guy could fill that spot if Bryan retires"? Well AEW proceeded to make a joke out of him, turning him into an ironic "Sports Entertainer" gimmick. It's very lame. I just want Garcia to be the super serious technical threat that we all know he can be.

5) Chelsea Green - I was so happy to see Green return to WWE, at the Royal Rumble, then she got eliminated in seconds and I was upset. I guess it made for a memorable return. Still, Green is one of WWE's best personalities and a more than competent wrestler. She is not being featured prominently enough. I didn't even know she was still a women's tag team champion, because those belts are destined for obscurity.

4) Brian Cage - The hype around the Machine joining AEW was quite big, especially being endorsed by Taz. Cage has been unfortunate with injuries throughout his career but he has been active for some time now and he really deserves to be doing more in AEW. He is in his second run as ROH 6-man champions with the Mogul Embassy after dropping and regaining the titles from the Elite for literally no reason. Cage had main eventer written all over him, he is one of many blundered stars AEW has obtained over the past couple of years.

3) Chad Gable - Similarly to LA Knight, Gable was given some deserved attention for a period so I was hesitant to include him. Gable handed Gunther his first televised loss since becoming IC champion, granted it wasn't a clean one. Gable has been one of the best wrestlers and most entertaining performers on the roster for a few years now. He really should be the one to dethrone Gunther. Hopefully it's not to late to see him be the one to do it.

2) Juice Robinson - I've felt Juice has been underrated for YEARS. He finally got some singles runs in New Japan but I felt he could have easily been elevated to the main event with some good booking. He never quite made it though, being hindered as an other Bullet Club lackey. Now, he is one of the most entertaining parts of AEW TV as a talker and as a wrestler. We NEED a Juice title run in 2024 Tony.

1) Butch - Pete Dunne was one of the greatest wrestlers NXT ever had. I was so pumped about his call up, but as soon as the name change happened I was skeptical. He has been entertaining with the Brawling Brutes, but far from his potential. He is capable of being a future world champion, he has the look, the talk, walk. Everything. It seems the Brutes have disbanded now, which is great. I want 2024 the year we see the return of Pete Dunne and the rise of the Bruiserweight.


Warrior Award (most overrated)

Funny that WWE had a Warrior Award to honour bravery, courage and all that jazz, when the Ultimate Warrior was the one of the most rotten bin bag's of shit that ever graced the wrestling industry. Do your own research, but fuck the Ultimate Warrior, the only reason he came back to "make amends" was because his legacy was in the toilet and he was nearing his death. Aside from being a walking, talking mouldy cockwomble, he was also the most overrated wrestler of all time. No one could ever compare, but who fits the bill this year? I actually had a hard time compiling 10, a lot of recommendations felt more like "I don't like this person" rather than them being overrated, but I suppose all opinions can differ. Here are the nominees:

10) Matt & Jeff Hardy - Double submission here, for slightly different reasons than the rest of this list. These two are legends who have more than contributed enough to the sport. They need to retire. Matt moves around with as much grace as Gorlock the Destroyer. Jeff can somewhat move around, but it seems it cannot happen without him having some form of intoxication issue. Their matches are hard to watch, they should not be getting any sort of major opportunity in AEW. Become trainers or producers. Enjoy the rest of your lives without paralysis, or worse.

9) Tama Tonga - A solid part of the original Bullet Club line-up and the Guerrillas of Destiny were a very entertaining tag team. Over the past few years New Japan are insistent of pushing Tama as a singles guy and it just ain't working for me. He is just average in all of his stats.

8) Austin Theory - He ranks pretty low on this list because Theory has a lot of potential for real, but his character and persona is just so goddamn boring. He is like the most generic, bland heel ever. I think the super push under Vince damaged him really, he has some real in-ring skill but his lack of personality makes him uninteresting to watch a lot of the time.

7) Britt Baker - I'm unsure what has happened to Britt in recent times, but she feels so complacent now. I'm unsure if she was disheartened by fan backlash to her rumoured backstage politicking or if she is burnt out, which is understandable trying to function in a disfunctional division. Whatever it is, Britt has been all kinds of mediocre this year, one match in particular which we will talk about later.

6) EC3 - Yes, we're going to talk about the worst match in NWA history today. Put a pin in it. As easy as it is to rag on an aging hunk of ham like Tyrus, it takes two to tango. EC3 was weak in that match too, not only that but ever since his WWE release he has been all talk and little substance.

5) Ronda Rousey - She deserves higher to be honest, but she gets of lucky for barely wrestling on live TV this year. All of her matches have been average at best, at worst they've been pretty fucking trash too. A real fall from grace for the baddest woman on the planet, but she had a worse year last year.

4) Saraya - I was over the moon for her to be medically cleared again, but she unfortunately has not yet regained her in-ring ability of old. Her mic skills are still rusty, her wrestling is sloppy and disjointed and her twitter game is atrocious. I was there live watching her win the AEW Women's title and I agree it was a feel good moment. It definitely shouldn't have happened though. The same way that if Tamina won her first ever singles championship soon. Yes it would be good for her, but very questionable booking.

3) David Finlay - I tried to keep an open mind when Bullet Club had a revamp and I'm happy with a few of the members now part of the faction. Finlay though is not only hands down their worst leader, but maybe their worst member. He is not on the calibre of a Devitt, Styles, Omega or White. NJPW are trying to push him into that category of singles and it's failing, badly. I liked Finlay as a face midcarder, but since his heel turn I've found his matches are a slog to get through. He lacks the in-ring ability and charisma to lead the BC to a new era. Hopefully Gabriel Kidd rises in popularity and hoofs him out.

2) EVIL - But hey, at least they didn't actually put Finlay in the world title picture for the last few years like this guy. EVIL was an accomplished tag wrestler, then New Japan but the world title on him and everyone was shocked and thought it was some kind of prank. Ever since, he reappears in the main event scene and he did this year in the G1 and in a pretty lame main event match against SANADA. If we pray hard enough, God will take the House of Torture away from us.

1) Tyrus - Funnily, enough, maybe this dancing blob of a T-Rex is on the level of the Ultimate Warrior. Tyrus is a piece of shit too, saying horrible things that would bring a tear to Jim Hellwig's eye in pride. Without a doubt putting one of the oldest, most legendary championships around the rotund gut of this talentless beached whale has almost killed the NWA. Everyone absolutely laughs at the NWA now. Not only did they given him a title run, it was 288 DAYS LONG! It is the 8th longest reign of the 21st century. Tyrus has held that championship longer than Barry Windham, AJ Styles, Tatsumi Fujinami, Cody Rhodes and The Great Muta to name a few. No one takes the company seriously. If the NWA is either bought out by another company or investor, or they just straight close up shop within the next 5-10 years, it won't shock me. Why? Because they turned the Funkasaurus into the NWA World Champion.


Dehydrated Piss Award (worst match)

A friend once said to me "I would rather drink a cup of my mum's dehydrated piss than watch that match again" when discussing a certain match on this list. It's a funny line, enough for me to name the award after it. The rest of the awards are positive ones so let's cleanse ourselves of the negative rage us wrestling fans all seem to have. I haven't actually watched too many stinkers this year, but enough for me to compile a list of deserving nominees:

10) Chris Sabin vs Lio Rush, Impact Slammiversary AND Toni Storm vs Jamie Hayter, AEW Double or Nothing - These two matches tie for tenth place because they have the same issue. Continuing with a pre-existing match even though one of the wrestlers are too injured to work the match. I don't really like it. I understand not wanting to disappoint, but I would much prefer for the match to be forfeited and a replacement be announced rather than a cop out short match like these. It's more confusing that AEW have done Interim champions in the past but not here. But yeah, poor booking.

9) The Miz vs Shane McMahon (then Snoop Dogg), Wrestlemania 39 Sunday - This is a match hindered by an injury caused during the match. Shane O'Mac made his "triumphant" return for an impromptu match with The Miz, he ran the ropes and immediately tore his quads. The injury must run in the family. Injuries suck yes, but has enough time passed for this to be considered hilarious? I think so. Snoop Dogg tries to save the segment, props to him but the overall segment is a laughable slice of poop pie.

8) Brit Baker vs Taya Valkyrie, AEW Dynamite 26/07 - The rest of the nominees now are actual matches. I shortlisted this one based off the huge fan backlash it recieved and after watching it, the criticism is justified. Baker looks gassed after 5 minutes, her offence is sloppy and almost lazy. Valkyrie tries to work around it but the match fell apart quickly. Poorly paced, poorly structured, just poor.

7) Baron Corbin vs Gable Steveson, NXT Great American Bash - Steveson's televised debut and boy was it a stinky one. It failed at everything it tried to achieve. The fans cheered Corbin and turned on Gable immediately. Gable looked out of his depth and inable to work a simple match. Neither man got over because it ended in a lame double count out after 6 minutes. Easily the worst match of NXT this year. The in-ring work wasn't downright terrible or botchy, but it was like watching an amateur training video with a terrible ending.

6) SANADA vs EVIL, NJPW Destruction in Ryogoku - From an in-ring persepctive, this is far from the worst thing. However, this is nearly 30 FUCKING minutes long of EVIL and House of Torture bull shit and hot damn it was painful to watch. Lumberjack matches are always mid at best but this one was excruciatingly boring. The antics of the HoT and Just 5 Guys didn't add anything. This is just one New Japan match to avoid like the plague.

5) Hikaru Shida vs Ruby Soho, AEW Dynamite 25/10 - I know people ragged on Baker vs Valkyrie as the worst AEW Women's match of all time, but I think this one is worse. While not as poorly paced, this one is just as poorly communicated with a plethora of awkward moments, stalling and botches. Ruby Soho, like Baker, just looked super lazy and disinterested throughout this one. I don't know what the problem was. Not only was the work bad, but the Ruby tried to get Shida disqualified? Getting the champion DQ'd? Fucking stupid. Shida tries to save this from being uter hogwash but I don't even think the entire roster of STARDOM could have walked Soho to a good match here.

4) Brock Lesnar vs Bobby Lashley, Elimination Chamber - Well I fucking hated this one. Elimination Chamber 2023 was ALMOST a contender for best show of the year...until this match. 5 minutes of repetitive offence with a lame DQ finish because Lesnar wanted to avoid the hurt lock again. Was there a follow up to close the rivalry for good? Fuck no! This one just insulted me more than all my highschool bullies. A rare big L during the Triple H era.

3) Ronda Rousey vs Shayna Baszler, Summerslam - Talking about rare Triple H booking L's though I don't think this is fully his fault. On paper, an MMA rules match between two former MMA stars could have been something. I was hoping this could have been akin to the Fight Pit match or the Lion's Den match between Owen Hart and Ken Shamrock. No, this was just a dead ass MMA match but it was scripted so it all looked really lame. If they did a work-shoot style it could have worked, but they didn't. This was really silly and poorly executed, Baszler's big win tainted by another bad Ronda match.

2) Jeff Hardy vs Jeff Jarrett, AEW Dynamite 16/08 - This was a Texas Chain Saw Massacre Death match. This was also the worst wrestling match by a major promotion this year. "But Connor, the match earned a $100K sponsorship that was donated to a great cause!" Doing a good deed doesn't exonerate you from criticism. I'm in full support of AEW making a donation to the Maui crisis. However, I review and critique wrestling, not charity. This match was all types of smegma. The ugly red lighting making it hard to watch. Two wrestlers, one past his prime and the other more physically banged up than a peadophile in prison. This awful showing is capped off by the hilariously stupid debut of Leatherface wielding a chainsaw, drawing similarities to WCW's crossover with RoboCop back in the day. It's bad, not even fun bad. This was nearly my worst match of tbe year, but we gotta talk about one more tragedy.

1) Tyrus vs EC3, NWA 75 - If you know me personally, you'll know I am a connoisseur of bad media. Bad movies make me feel giddy inside. Bad music makes me laugh. Bad games bring a joyous tear to my eye, as long as I haven't spent too much money. I love things so bad they're good. This is the wrestling equivilent of Tommy Wiseau's The Room. I almost recommend this match. A 15+ minute Bull Rope match that would have ben terrible if it was air dropped into the 80s. Tyrus is gassed within 2 minutes and all of his offence makes Andre the Giant look like Mil Mascaras. The best comment I read was someone saying "I could run the ropes better than Tyrus and I am in a wheelchair." Words don't do this match justice. Watch it, but please don't sue me if it causes you to contract clinical depression.


Brahma Bull Award (most charismatic)

I don't think it's an outlandish claim to say Dwayne 'The Dwayne' Dwayneson is the most charismatic wrestler in history. He just radiates charisma effortlessly, he could cut a promo about chartered accountancy and it would still be entertaining. The wrestling world has plenty of smooth talking characters, but which one drips with magnetism the most?

10) Alex Shelley - The 20+ year veteran has finally won his deserved first Impact world championship and is on the singles run of his career. Most interestingly about Shelley is about his character currently who is still technically a face, however the longer his reign seems to extend the more willing to embrace his dark side he seems to be. He has cut some captivating promos where he toes the line between good and evil very finely.

9) Swerve Strickland - 2023 has been a huge year for the man who owns all houses. His stock has risen significantly as he gets his much deserved opportunity. His unique intensity is almost unmatched in AEW right now. It's not only what he says, but what he doesn't say. During a hype segment before his death match against Hangman Page, Page does all the talking but Sweve tells a story with his facial expressions and his demeanour. He has a captivating aura to him. And, let's not forget this awesome line from his promo before Wrestledream; "What's a farmer to a mogul, what's a cowboy to an outlaw, what's a Buckshot to a Killshot" COLD ASS LINE.

8) Grayson Waller - Only 6 years in the business, but Waller gets it. He is rapidly approaching The Miz levels of heel promo ability and that is a great compliment in my books. In his short time in WWE he has already shared mic time with John Cena, on PPV no less. Not only his time on TV, but Waller makes great use of social media to improve his promo game. Most recently using the Taylor Swift hype to take shots at fans. He is a gift with a huge upside.

7) Ricky Starks - We saw Starks' best promo come late '22 when he duelled with the champion MJF, but he has continued his charismatic ways in 2023 with more passionate promos. Not only that, but the way he walks and carries himself is so alluring he has been drawing comparison's to The Rock. He's not there yet, but he could be.

6) Sami Zayn - Not many wrestlers make you FEEL quite as much as Sami does. Whether he has been reaching out to his best friend Kevin Owens, trying to break through to his new friend Jey Uso or simply opening his soul to the WWE universe, Zayn feels like the most genuine wrestling character in the sport right now.

5) CM Punk - Love him or hate him (and I love him) Pepsi Stan CM Punk has been and still is one of the greatest wrestling promos in history. He has such a captivating way with words, he can control a crowd to be loud or quiet. He can walk into an arena full of haters, drop a sermon of truth and walk out with thousands of coinverted fans. He really is that good, the only reason I don't rate him as high is due to his lack of TV time this year for, well, obvious reasons.

4) Eddie Kingston - If anyone can rival Sami Zayn for pure passion and being the most real character in wrestling, it's the Mad King. Anytime he has a microphone in his hand, everyone wants to listen to what he has to say. Since day 1 of his AEW career he has made a name for being one of their best talkers and he has demonstrated more of the same this year, especially when talking about his bitter rival Claudio Castagnoli.

3) Cody Rhodes - "So, what does everyone wanna talk about?" I want to talk about how every single promo Cody has cut since his return has been banger after banger after banger. His late old man Dusty made a legacy out of his unique promo ability. I am more than confident he is looking down with pride at the level of skill his son is displaying each and every week. Whether he stands across from Reigns, Heyman, Judgement Day or Nakamura, Cody delivers the goods more consistently than most of his peers.

2) MJF - I don't see how people are starting to sour on MJF right now. I truly believe wrestling fans have such a low attention span that they cannot enjoy someone for more than 6 months without turning on them out of pure boredom. MJF has been AEW's best talker for a couple years now, and nothing has changed. Heel or face, the man could talk for hours and keep me entertained. He was almost my number 1, but he has achieved his success with full support of AEW, unlike...

1) LA Knight- Knight forced Triple H and WWE to give him more mic time, more screen time and a bigger push because he was drawing attention to himself with every second he had available. He is one of the most over men in the company right now and it's all off his own back. A lot of comparisons have been drawn between Knight and legendary promo guys such as Austin and Rock. Some even call him a cheap imitation (looking at you Kevin Nash) which I think is a bad take. Knight is an average wrestler, but sometimes you don't need to be the best worker. Sometimes you need to be the best talker, and that is exactly who LA Knight is. YEAH!


Windham Rotunda Award (best gimmick)

RIP to one of the most creative minds in all of wrestling, this award is devoted to you. Gimmicks are a neccessity in wrestling, to be able to distinguish yourself from another worker. A well developed character draws more intrigue and fan interest to your matches. It's not a golden rule, some wrestlers do get over purely on in-ring ability, but you have to be GOOD to pull that off. If you ain't a contender for best wrestler in the world, then developing an intriguing character is a must. Here are the best 10 this year:

10) Orange Cassidy - It's been 4 years and the 'hands in his pockets' shtick is still over as rover. Orange's sloth style started off as a funny meme but became a much more explored part of his character. His feud with Jericho really brought out another side of him and since then he has grown into a more fleshed out persona. His run as International champion has been one of the best championship reigns in AEW's short history. Orange has shown a new side of his ever expanding character, the will to be a fighting champion and never quit without dying first. He is most hard-working sloth I've ever seen.

9) Julia Hart - She is 22 years old. That is equal parts impressive and also disgusting. Hart seemed like an odd acquisition when she turned on the Varsity Blondes to embrace her inner goth, but it has proven to be one of the best booking decisions in AEW's often criticised women's division. The Hart of the House of Black has been a crucial missing piece to make the stable the success it has become. In a company with a bland women's division, Hart is one of few bright sparks of creativity they have, still with decades of years ahead of her.

8) Gunther - less is more sometimes, which to me perfectly describes what Gunther is all about. His entire persona is that he is a big bad, ass kicker who will slap the holy ghost out of you to remain on top. He handles himself like a professional, wearing suits and treating the wrestling mat as sacred ground. He is cool, menacing and just a strsight up knallhart (German for bad ass).

7) Joe Hendry - One of the most entertaining and underrated characters in pro wrestling today. He narrowly missed out on my charisma top 10 but I could not resist mentioning him here. Whether he motivates you to believe in Joe Hendry, or if he serenades you with a parody anthem, he is always entertaining to see on the screen.

6) Jey Uso - The Ucey one has possible had one of the greatest character arcs in modern WWE over the last few years. From feuding with his cousin to being outright brain washed, the year 2023 was finally the year Jey came out from the shadows and stepped up as a dependable singles guy. His character development from Bloodline soldier to standing up to his Tribal Chief to now going solo has been a highlight of WWE's programming.

5) Rhea Ripley - the Mami gimmick is the most over female character in WWE today. It began late 2022 but has gained mass popularity over the following months. Even kids chant for Mami at shows which generates conflicting emotions, they're blissfully unaware of the connotations of the beloved chant. Rhea's character work as been astounding, the most dominant, unstoppable female we've seen since Chyna graced our screens.

4) LA Knight - Nothing much more needs to be said that I haven't already mentioned about Knight in the previous award. I ranked him lower here because he is less of a character and more a captivating personality, but you cannot deny the success of his engaging crowd work.

3) Toni Storm - Many might see this and feel I have underrated the 'Timeless' character introduced to us, but that isn't the case. The drastic character change was something Toni really needed to transition into a big deal and stand out in the grayscale women's division. The only thing holding it back from top is that its still a very new gimmick only a couple of months old, barely stretching it's legs. However, I cannot deny how effective it has been. Storm has went from being another talented wrestler, to AEW's star lady recently recapturing the championship as well as the hearts of the fans. Like Julia Hart did, Toni's throwback gimmick of a demanding, paranoid Hollywood star has been a much needed breath of fresh air. At this rate, it could be a shoe in for best gimmick next year.

2) 'Dirty' Dominik Mysterio - Talking about much needed rebranding, Dom Dom's heel turn was essential to his current success. He turned heel last year joining the Judgment Day and he has flourished in the role. Whether he is trash talking his dad, or talking about his days as a convict, Baby Mysterio's character work has been a work of genius. His pairing with Rhea Ripley has been like captured lightning, they have so much on-screen chemistry both their personas are elevated. He would have been number 1, if it wasn't for everyone's favourite father figure.

1) Christian Cage - 2023 has been Christian's best year, maybe ever? Definitely from a gimmick perspective. He not only has proved he is still on top of his game as a wrestler, but his storytelling is magical. Originally being a despicable heel targeting wrestlers with daddy issues (mainly those with dead dads), he has now transitioned into a patriarch, taking Nick Wayne and newly named Killswitch under his tutelage to dominate AEW. He has consistently been one of the most entertaining wrestlers across the globe, in and out the ring. He deserves the award.


Gordon Solie Award (best broadcaster)

Solie is the absolute GOAT of commentary. JR would even agree with me. Broadcaster is a broad term to not only include the voices that narate the matched we watch, but also interviewers and ring announcers because they all make big contributions to the wrestling product. Quick shout out to Byron Saxton who has done some ring announcing duties and he's really good at it, but he hasn't done it enough to be included here. The nominees are as follows:

10) Wade Barrett - I was overjoyed to see Barrett return to WWE as part of the NXT commentary team, then even more overjoyed when he made the move up to main roster commentary. Whilst not as accomplished behind the desk as other Brits on this list, Barrett has been a very welcomed addition to the voices behind the action. He adds a sense of legitimacy that WWE commentary have lacked in a good colour commentator. He smartly praises heels and discourages faces without discredting the talent involved.

9) Excalibur - I cannot rate him too highly because there are some elements of his style that really irk me. He tries to fit in far to much commentary in, rambling on too much and rarely let's a moment breathe. However, when an angle or a match fails to accurately tell us a narrative that's ongoing, Excalibur is amazing at keeping us clued up on what is happening and why. So he deserves credit for that, a lot of small nuances and plot points would go unnoticed without his keen eye and excellent memory.

8) Renee Paquette - She is the best interviewer in modern wrestling in my opinion. She was great in WWE and she is great in AEW. She is the only person on AEW's Zero Hour shows that I enjoy listening too. She just feels so real and it really compliments whoever she is talking to. Renee brings a lot of personality to whatever she is doing, without it being too overbearing or distracting of the source material. The same cannot be said for RJ City.

7) Tom Hannifan - He was always incredibly underrated during his time in WWE as Tom Phillips, never truly appreciated for his great skills both as an interviewer and a commentator. Now in Impact, Hannifan alongside Matt Rehwoldt make a great announce team, they're easy to listen to and Hannifan is finally getting the exposure to showcase his announcing ability.

6) Samantha Irvin - Without a doubt, hands down, the BEST ring announcer in wrestling today and it isn't even close. The amount of passion and gravitas she puts in to her work is iconic. If she sticks around long term, her name could easily go down alongside the likes of Howard Finkel, Tony Chimel & Lillian Garcia as the voice of a generation.

5) Taz - I previously mentioned adding legitimacy to commentary, well no one does that better than Taz. His extensive knowledge of wrestling holds and offence helps the viewer understand the psychology of a wrestling match. His colour commentary style works so well with Excalibur. Taz is a serious dude but also doesn't take himself too seriously, being able to have a good time on the mic to the joy of all tuning in on Wednesday nights.

4) Michael Cole - If anyone has benefited the most from the Triple H creative takeover, it could be 'undefeated at Wrestlemania' Michael Cole. Once he was largely disliked by the wrestling community for his corny catchphrases, robotic delivery and often repetitive lines. Since Vince is no longer shouting into his ear canal, Cole has spread his wings like a beautiful butterfly and has really shone as lead commentator. He tells the stories well, he displays emotion akin to Jim Ross when he got passionately angry when Austin or someone got screwed by the heel authority. Hearing Cole get excited about things is just really wholesome, he seems to be really enjoying his job and that translates into a good experience for us too.

3) Ian Riccaboni - I was advised by a few people that this man should win this award and I understand why. Riccaboni has been a reliably great lead annpuncer for many years now, becoming the voice of Ring of Honor. When AEW began their new show Collision, Riccaboni was brought in and he was immediately given praise for his work for AEW. He's the quintessential good commentator, if I was to tell any aspiring announcer to watch one man's career, it would be Ian. An absolute pro.

2) Nigel McGuinness - He's the best colour commentator in the world. I was shocked WWE even lert him go because he is so damn good at what he does. He ticks all the boxes of adding legitimacy, complimenting ongoing stories, building up any workers he talks about. He's the full package. Anyone he works with in the booth is elevated by him. I would love to see him paire with our award winner, another fellow Brit.

1) Chris Charlton- Whether he is the lead announcer in STARDOM or being a co-commentator for New Japan, Charlton is the BEST at his craft. No one else in the commentary game has such a wide base of knowledge quite like Chris. He is so informative, being able to tell a story and retell history seemingly without effort. He picks up on every detail, is able to recall every relevant call back. He is currently the closest I've seen to a perfect announcer.


Wall of Death Award (best music)

A Wall of Death is a form of moshing usually at metal concerts where the crowd will divide into two sides run at each other like the battle of Shiroyama just began. They're cool and they hurt a lot. Talking about music, we have some BANGERS for some entrance themes and here are the best of the year. They don't have to have been released this year, but regularly featured to be worthy of the award, though I will lean towards newer anthems more than older ones. Honourable mention goes to Jinder Mahal's theme which I only heard a couple months ago, 'Vari Vari' is such a bop. I never see Mahal on TV or anything so I'm not including it, but I reccomend checking it out.

10) Darkside of T R (FTR) - I've been listening to this song on repeat recently, I'm absolutely in love with the throwback theme reminiscent of 70s and 80s teams like the Midnight Express. It has no lyrics and doesn't need any.

9) Battle Cry (Kenny Omega) - One of the first original songs by AEW and still one of their best, it feels like an epic walk out fitting of AEW's berst bout machine.

8) Visionary (Seth Rollins) - The entrance song itself is pretty averagely good, a standard rock theme with heavy guitar but the real power comes from the audience participation. Fans in attendance will sing the "woah!" part of the song for hours if their shows did not have run times. The singing from the crowd elevates this theme massively, like a choir of followers worshipping the arrival of their god.

7) Judas (Chris Jericho) - I really really like the song Judas, it's a banger that also has the magic of audience participation. From singing the chorus to even singing the entire song for him, Judas has been one of AEW's best entrances since day 1. More special to this year, being in attendance at Wembley and hearing a near-full stadium serenade the Ocho and his band Fozzy with the lyrics was awesome.

6) Kingdom (Cody Rhodes) - Closing out our trifecta of "crowds make this even better" is Cody's awesome theme sang by Downstait, who you can find is responsible for a few other recognisable entrance themes. This is a great song, made greater with the intense volume when the crowd sings the "WOAH!" part. It gives me chills.

5) Big Pressure remix (Swerve Strickland) - The original version used last yeat was a solid song, but this remix version goes so damn HARD. This is made more of a hype entrance with a live performance and Swerve's manager/hype man Prince Nana throwing his finest moves. When this comes on, it is undeniable that the house belongs to Swerve.

4) The Other Side (Judgement Day) - I partake to a bit of Alter Bridge, they're responsible for one of the best WWE themes of all time, Edge's Metallingus. We have another banger from Myles Kennedy's band, from their 2016 album The Last Hero, this is a moody anthem fitting of the dark and broody Judgment Day.

3) Elevated (Will Ospreay) - One of the best wrestlers in the world with one of the best intro songs in the world. It makes sense. Elevated is just an undeniable tune, it makes me wanna go to my local rock night, sink too many Firebombs and have a jolly ol' time.

2) Better Than You, Bay-Bay (MJF & Adam Cole) - This is my absolute favourite song in the world right now. I am partial to a good mash-up. When you take two great songs and you're able to pair them together to make an equally great, if not better song, that's some real talent. WWE have tried and often failed to make good mash-up entrance songs. This though, THIS GOES SO HARD. I love it so much. Unfortunately, since it is a mash-up I feel wrong giving it the award so it earns the silver medal.

1) Demon in your Dreams (Rhea Ripley) - I don't even like Motionless in White usually, but this song absolutely slaps. Rhea has transitioned more and more into a final boss from an anime and I am 1000% here for it. I loved her old theme, but her current one perfectly captures the essence of Ripley's character and how dominant she has become.


Bah God Almighty! Award (biggest OMFG moment)

Some of Jim Ross' most iconic lines come from some of the biggest and greatest OMG moments in wrestling history. Whether it's a jaw-dropping stunt such as Foley thrown off the cell, or a huge storyline development like Seth Rollins' heel turn, wrestling is full of huge moments that will live on forever. Disclaimer, I will only be looking at things that are related to the product, not backstage incidents or corporate movements because they're just not fun.

10) Aaaand newwwww... - New Japan had teased SANADA being part of their main event scne for a few years now but never pulled the trigger. I always assumed they might give him a NEVER Openweight or a US title run but they straight up gave him the big one earleir this year. Okada had only been carrying the main title once again for a few months after beating Jay White in January, but SANADA scored a huge win over him at Sakura Genesis to win his first world title. His reign has been hit and miss so far, but that first win was a great moment.

9) Not in my Blood - It felt like it had to happen at some point, but the Bloodline story in 2022 and early 2023 was being told so fucking well that we never truly knew what was coming next. At the Royal Rumble, Zayn finally turned face (though he was being cheered for months anyways) by saving his best frenemy Kevin Owens from a full Bloodline beat down. The closing segment to that show was an amazing one, a brilliantly woven narrative setting up the next chapter of the Bloodline story.

8) Shane O'Mac's tear-ible return - Snoop Dogg and The Miz had a strained relationship whilst co-hosting Wrestlemania. In Night 1, Snoop introduced Pat McAfee for a quick impromptu win over the Miz. On Night 2, it happened again as the Doggfather brought out a returning Shane McMahon for a quick match. Shane ran the ropes, did a leap frog and then collapsed to the canvas with a pair of torn quads. It was crazy scenes, leading to Snoop taking control and beating the Miz for him. Like I mentioned earlier, injuries suck but this was a little funny.

7) 'Vampire' Adam Page - Swerve Strickland and the Hangman had an awesome and gruesome Texas Death match at Full Gear in November. One of the most unforgettable moments saw Adam Page drink Swerve's blood from his forehead. Seriously. That is a sentence that is fact. I'll admit, it was effective in making the match feel gruesome, it really made me feel revolting for even watching. I didn't like the spot, it felt unnecessary to me but I'll admit it was a crazy moment that I don't think I will ever unsee.

6) Tokyo is Mone - After KAIRI retained her IWGP Women's championship in a good but short match against Tam Nakano, we saw the debut of Mercedes Mone, formerly Sasha Banks at Wrestle Kingdom. For the western audience around the world, this was a huge moment, this being Mone's first wrestling appearance since walking out on WWE. The Japanese fans in attendance did not react as massively as the rest of the world, but it was still a huge appearance for a former women's champion. KAIRI re-debuting in WWE is also deserving of a mention, I didn't expect that to happen either.

5) Daddy's back - When Orton was sidelined with a long-term back injury, there was high speculation whether we would ever be able to see him wrestle again. He's a 20+ year veteran with very few off days, usually his time off is due to serious injuries. The week before Survivor Series though, it was announced that Cody Rhodes was bringing Orton back as the 5th man for his team. The only way this return is so low because they could have just made this a surprise. I know now WHY they didn't do that, which we'll talk about, but they still could have had Orton's return be a big surprise. Still, a great moment and it's mint to see the viper back.

4) 81,035, maybe? - Poor Will Ospreay, clearly not much of a tattoo guy but decided to get one honouring the historic show at AEW's All In show in London, with the announced attendance according to AEW. Since then, those figures are up for debate. We can argue over the exact number, but one thing is for sure. AEW pulling in anything close to 80K is an astounding achievement. All In 2023 was one of the largest wrestling shows in history. Will they be abfle to recreate the feat next year? I highly doubt it, which is expected, but I'm sure they will star draw big numbers still with the mass roster they have.

3) Total Nonstop Action - Talk about shock returns, this is one everyone wanted and never expected. Even non-Impact wrestling fans are excited, TNA was such a rising force in the wrestling industry, faltering due to the hiring and focus on older talent. Haven't heard that story before. The re-brand to Impact was understandable but the company was slowly getting less and less relevant. They've has quite the resurgence in the past couple years though, through great matches and great booking and now they are reclaiming their old moniker? Hell yeah. 2024 is going to be a big year for TNA. I feel it.

2) I'm on the Edge, I cannot Cope-land - Edge seemingly wrapping things up for WWE was quite an engima. It seemed that he wasn't done with wrestling, but it didn't look like he had much prepared for him in WWE. Of course an AEW debut was discussed amongst the fans but the rumours were largely ridiculed as being closer to an impossibility than reality. Well, we were proven wrong as at the conclusion to All Out we heard the classic Metallingus sting and Adam Copeland became all Elite. It was a 'seeing is believing' moment which could have taken number 1 if not for...

1) Never say Never - The impossible was made possible at the end of Survivor Series, CM Punk returns to WWE. CM Punk returning to wrestling in 2021 felt like an impossiblity, but him ever returning to WWE felt even more impossible. It's an insane moment that shows you how magical wrestling is. You cannot guarantee anything. Fuck the rumours. Fuck the dirtsheets. Fuck the she said, he said. You really never know what is going to happen in wrestling and that is the core beauty of it.


We're going to take a brief respite from awards to pay homage to some wrestling greats who unfortunately passed away this year. Here is the class of 2023 for the In Memoriam wing. My condolences to those hurt or affected by these tragedies. May they rest peacefully.


In Memoriam: Class of 2023

Jesus Toral Lopez (Black Warrior), 07/01/69-10/01/23 - A man who wrestled under a variety of gimmicks, he spent decades wrestling primarily in Mexico, finding most success in CMLL.

Jay Briscoe, 25/01/23-17/01/23 - Alongside brother Mark, the Briscoes were one of the best tag teams in the modern era, with over 20 tag championship wins including 13 ROH Tag Championships. Jay also won the ROH world championship twice.

Lanny Poffo, 28/12/54-02/02/23 - The brother of Randy Savage debuted in '74 and wrestled his last match in 2020, gaining most of his fame as the character 'The Genius' for the WWF.

Charlie Norris, 21/20/63-06/02/23 - A Native American who wrestled across various territories, being able to win the PWA Heavyweight Championship 5 times in his career.

Eric Froelich, 03/05/37-10/02/23 - An early pioneer of a more athletic style of wrestling in North America and Canada, Froelich wrestled barefoot and wowed audiences by taking on all opponents, even a real life tiger.

Billy Two Rivers, 05/05/35-12/02/23 - A Canadian Mohawk wrestler who, after 20 years as a pro wrestler, made a name for himself as the leader of the Mohawk Nation in the Kahnawake reservation. He played a key role in the blocking of Honore Mercier Bridge during the 1990 Oka Crisis.

Jerry Jarrett, 04/09/42-14/02/23 - Described as a wrestling genius, Jarrett was a skilled promoter and businessman who can be credited for the success of many wrestlers and promotions across 4 decades. He worked with Jerry Lawler to successfully run wrestling across Memphis and the Mid-South, he helped his son Jeff co-found NWA:TNA. When Vince was indicted due to the steroid scandal, he appointed Jarrett in control if he was found guilty and was sent to prison.

Jason Silver, 1987-23/02/23 - A Texan independant wrestler who became a local favourite wrestling for many of the promotions in his area.

Toro Bill, ???-05/03/23 - The father of Toro Bill Jr who passed away the previous year, he was another veteran of the Mexican wrestling scene, including performances for CMLL.

Jeff Gaylord, 15/30/58-15/03/23 - A short career for Jeff who primarily worked for the UWF, forming tag teams with both Jeff Jarrett and also Psycho Sid.

Robert Miller (Bushwacker Butch), 21/10/44-02/04/23 - One half of the most legendary wrestling act to eminate from New Zealand, Butch is a Hall of Famer who won tag team gold all over the world alongside Luke.

Kristen Mitchell (Miami), 1986-05/23 - Praised as a trailblazer for female wrestlers in Australia, Miami mixed it up with mainstream stars such as Toni Storm and Rhea Ripley whilst making her name in Melbourne.

Eldrige Wayne Coleman Jr. ('Superstar Billy Graham), 07/06/43-17/05/23 - A revolutionary character from the 70s, former world champion Billy Graham is credited for his awesome physique and innovative interviews that would shape the wrestling landscape in the following years.

Pierre LaFleur, 13/02/39-17/05/23 - He wrestled under a variety of monikers and competed against many legends such as Dusty Rhodes, Greg Gagne and Andre the Giant.

Peggy Lee Fowler (Peggy Lee Leather), 19/01/59-22/05/23 - Peggy wrestled for over 30 years, forming an alliance with Wendi Richter in the WWF. She was a one time NWA Women's championship.

Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri (Iron Sheik), 15/02/42-07/06/23 - The first and only Iranian WWE world champion, the Iron Sheik is one of the most legendary heels of all time, being a formidable foe to every top babyface wherever he went.

Darren Drozdov (Droz), 07/04/69-30/06/23 - Once a footballer with a chronic vomiting problem, Droz transitioned into wrestling with great enthusiasm until a career-ending injury. Though now a quadriplegic, Droz held no resentment and continued to work in the wrestling business behind the scenes and not let his condition define his life.

Mike Halac (Mantaur), 14/05/68-11/07/23 - A 25+ year veteran who wrestled for the biggest companies in America during the 90s, most notably as the humanoid Minotaur in the WWF.

Adrian Street, 05/12/40-24/07/23 - A legendary Welsh wrestler known for his androgynous, flamboyant character who rose to prominence in the 70s and 80s as a heel figure alongside his wife, Miss Linda.

Dan Excellent, 30/10/62-14/08/23 - Primarily wrestling on the indie circuit, Mr Excellent worked feuds with legends such as Ricky Morton and Bobby Fulton.

Terry Funk, 30/06/44-23/08/23 - One of the most well-travelled legends who paved his legacy worldwide in singles or tags, traditional wrestling or hardcore brawls, he achieved as much as he could across his 50+ year career.

Windham Rotunda (Bray Wyatt), 23/05/87-24/08/23 - A beloved figure in the wrestling world who will be remembered for his unmatched creativity and success within WWE.

Adnan El-Kaissie (General Adnan), 01/03/39-06/09/23 - After winning the WWWF Tag Championships with Chief Jay Strongbow, Adnan later became part of Sgt. Slaughter's Iraqi-sympathetic faction in the highly controversial anti-terror angle in the early 90s.

Brett Eugene Woyan (Brett Sawyer), 10/08/60-08/09/23 - Trained by Ricky Steamboat and older brother Buzz Sawyer, Brett found most of his success in the tag division, although he did win the NWA National Heavyweight Championship in Georgia Championship Wrestling.

Steven Stewart (Bart Sawyer), 30/11/65-12/09/23 - A wrestler and commentator who made his money mostly in CW USA and USWA. His gimmick was loosely based off Bart Simpson.

Emile Dupree, 20/10/36-17/09/23 - Father of Rene Dupree, Emile was a wrestler who worked matches with the likes of Dusty Rhodes and Killer Kowalski. He was a promoter too, opening Grand Prix Wrestling in 1977 which played host for legends such as Edge, Christian, Andre the Giant, Randy Savage and Ric Flair.

Betty Wade-Murphy (Joyce Grable), 09/11/52-29/09/23 - Grable was a successful wrestler in the NWA territories, most notably winning the Women's tag championships 6 times with regular tag partners Wendi Richter (3) and Vicki Williams (3).

Russell Francis, 03/04/53-01/10/23 - Mostly known for his time as a pro footballer, he appeared in the WWF x NFL Battle Royal at Wrestlemania 2, as well as some sporadic appearances for the AWA and NWA.

Andreas Uilmann (Absolute Andy), 22/09/83-23/11/23 - 'The Veteran' was a WxW lifer, nearly 20 years spent there with great success. He was the WxW Shotgun Championship when he unfortunately passed away.

Masashi Ozawa (Killer Khan), 6/3/47-29/12/23 - A Mongolian Giant character created by Karl Gotch, Ozawa had many high profile matches across the world, most notably against Andre the Giant which included their famous 'Mongolian stretcher match'.

Kurtis Chapman, 19/25/97-12/23 - Only a month older than me, this young man made his name all over the UK and even won the RevPro's British Cruiserweight championship.


Bobby Heenan Award (best manager)

Back to the awards, I have no problem naming this award after the Weasel, one of the greatest on-screen personalities in wrestling history. Managers have felt like a lost art in mainstream wrestling, compiling a top 10 list for this was quite difficult but I managed. Can we bring back more managers please?

10) Mark Sterling - 'Smart' Mark is an underrated manager, he doesn't do much outlandish but he has performed his heel managerial role perfectly whether he is hyping up Jade Cargill or the Varsity Athletes.

9) Stokeley Hathaway - He spends most of his time now on the ROH Board of Directors, but he was representing The Firm earlier in the year and Hathaway casually has some of he best promos for a wrestling manager today.

8) Karen Jarrett - I can't believe I'm including her in here, but I am. You're supposed to hate Karen Jarrett with all your heart and soul, if you do then she is doing her job well. She is so easy to hate, she's great at generating heat for herself and her little posse. Just a Karen being a Karen.

7) Zelina Vega - Though she isn't as involved in managing as she used to be, Vega was a delightful part of the LWO during its peak period. She's really came into her own as a babyface.

6) Alex Abrahantes - Penta says that Alex has unbridled energy when it comes to supporting your client. Once a reserved language translator now a full blown hype man, Alex is another manager who I think is quite underrated. He adds quite a lot of personality to his clients who don't always demonstrate tantalising charisma.

5) Gedo - The New Japan booker and former tag specialist shocked the world in 2018 when he turned heel on Kazuchika Okada and joined the Bullet Club. Since then he has been a more than solid heel manager, this year being one of the brighter spots in possibly the worst year in Bullet Club's history.

4) Maxxine Dupri - Dupri has had a breakout year as one of WWE's upcoming valets. She polished a turd with the Maximum Male Models gimmick and made them an entertaining comedic faction until she turned face and joined Alpha Academy. Since then, she has continued to flourish as the AA's manager as well as debuting as a wrestler too. She is very charming and has formed quite a nice on-screen bond with Chad Gable and Otis.

3) Prince Nana - The absolute bar when it comes to being a hype man, Nana not only assists Swerve as a manager during his matches, but his unmatched energy during his entrance makes Swerve feel like even more of a big deal, bringing in more fan participation and attention.

2) Paul Heyman - Shocking that Heyman falls to 2nd place but it was real close. Heyman has been consistently the best on-screen manager in WWE for over a decade, even longer if we forget about the times he's been fired or moved to a backstage role. He delivers poetic promos better than anybody, he can take an angle with absolutely zero hype and when he's done talking he will have sold thousands of people on the story going forward. He's the GOAT. But this year one man just managed to do it better.

1) Don Callis - The issue with Heyman is that no one really hates him or despises him even though he is a heel. Callis might genuinely be the best heat magnet in wrestling today. He is showered with boos and slurs seconds after stepping out from the curtain. He gets serious heat and it's never go away heat. Since he became Omega's heel manager he has been fully despised by the wrestling fandom, the hatred only grew stronger when he eventually betrayed Kenny to form his own little family. He has all of the talents that Heyman has, sure he may not execute them to the same god level, but he draws heat quicker than a lighter to petroleum can.


Next Big Thing Award (best future star)

As much as wrestling likes to honour the past and live in the present, we always have to look to the future to ensure the long and complex history of the sport is in safe hands. From era to era, generation to generation we have all seen someone come in to the business young or inexperienced, who gradually work their way into super stardom. These next 10 wrestlers are on the rise, give them a few years and they could be ticket movers themselves.

10) Trick Williams - I initially wasn't sold on Trick Williams, I thought he was nothing more than a glorified hype man. I am glad to be proven wrong. This recent story arc between him, Carmelo Hayes and Lexis King has really shone a bright light on Trick as a guy with all the tools to make it big. His performance at NXT Deadline was great too. He needs some in-ring polish but he drips with charisma and has great storytelling ability.

9) Ren Narita - Though he hasn't been a young lion for some time now, Ren has made his mark in New Japan in 2023. His new faction alongside Minoru Suzuki & El Desperado is pretty much there to get him over which has slowly been working. His year long feud with another entry on this list has also helped raise his stock. He could be a legitimate bad-ass champion in the upcoming years.

8) Billie Starkz - At 19 years old with 5 years of in-ring experience, Starkz is one of the brightest stars in AEW today. Whilst there has been a lot of criticism about how Khan is handling both ROH and AEW's women's division, one of the rare anomalies is the well-told story between Starkz and former mentor Athena, who faced off with each other at ROH Final Battle. Starkz has proved she can hold her own in the ring with huge names. She has her whole career ahead of her and I see many championships in her future.

7) Grayson Waller - I'll just reiterate my points from earlier. He can use some fine tuning but he's still a great in-ring talent, but he is miles ahead of where he should be in terms of crowd work and promo ability. He's one of the most charismatic stars on the main roster, with the superstar look too. I can almost guarantee he will become the first ever Australian born WWE champion.

6) Julia Hart - Another star previously mentioned that I'll briefly run down. She's had a breakout year in 2023 gaining poularity with the fans and making huge improvements as a wrestler. She is the current TBS Champion at such a young age, I doubt it will be her last.

5) Master Wato - The winner of this years Best of the Super Juniors tournament has pretty much assured himself as a future star in the Jr Heavyweight division. I see that he can be even more than that. He has drawn comparisons to Kota Ibushi and they're totally just. He has caught the world's attention this year, the trick is to keep ahold of them whilst he rises up the card.

4) Shota Umino - Another guy who hasn't been a young lion for a while but Shota initially struggled to find his feet when he became part of NJPW's main roster. Like Narita though, 2023 has been a great year for Shota. He's been having great matches with other great wrestlers, he had an awesome rivalry against Ren Narita which we could see be the next big two in Japan for the next 10 years. Umino has built upon what he alreadt knew and gained confidence, he is well on his way to becoming a star over in New Japan.

3) Leon Slater - I had to give a British boy a shoutout because Leon Slater has been tearing it up in 2023. Whether it's in RevPro or Progress or my local NORTH, Slater has been having banging matches and drastically raising his stock. This year he has been performing for GCW, New Japan and Impact Wrestling, even signing a contract with the soon to be TNA. At only 19 Leon has a huge upside and many championships in his future.

2) Yota Tsuji - After time spent as a young lion Tsuji spent a lot of time in RevPro and CMLL perfecting his craft. Upon returning to New Japan, Tsuji made an immediate impact challenging IWGP World champion SANADA. Tsuji has star power that none of the recent young lion graduates have managed, he just has that look about him. He's been positioned as a big part of Los Ingobernables de Japon and has had great matches throughout the year, most notably his one with Will Ospreay. Tsuji is the future of New Japan, I am certain.

1) Tiffany Stratton - A 24 year old gymnast joined WWE in 2021 with zero wrestling experience. Her debut match was November of 2021. In two years, Stratton has manahed to become NXT Women's champion and absolutely deservingly. I have not seen anyone get this good at wrestling so quickly, her character work is amazing, her in-ring work is amazing, she is the full package. She is the next generation of Charlotte Flair, but I think she has the potential to even supercede Flair is a performer. I said it. Stratton has been awesome and whatever she decides to do, she's going to be at the tippy top of it.


Horsemen Award (best faction)

"The original gang" are a goated faction that many try to live up to, has anyone been able to? Two honourable mentions. First, the Cosmic Angels. I've heard great things about this group led by Tam Nakano. I don't keep up with Stardom as much as I should, which I'm planning on changing next year. They deserve the mention. Also, United Empire. All members have been great however they've all mainly achieved success solo or in tags rather than being a dominant or entertaining faction as a whole:

10) Chase U - These have been an absolute delight to watch throughout NXT. A gimmick that sounds lame on paper has become on of the standout parts of weekly TV. Whether their lessons are being interrupted by know-it-all heels, Hudson being tempted to betray the school or most recently Thea Hail going through her bad girl emo phase with her new friend Jacy Jayne. Chase U are a joy. Plus winning the NXT Tag titles this year is always a plus.

9) TMDK - The Mighty Don't Kneel started out as a tag team between Mikey Nicholls and Shane Haste. They added Bad Dude Tito last year but at Wrestle Kingdom they brought in Zack Sabre Jr and things really got underway for them. They've such an entertaining group and a much needed breath of fresh air to the New Japan stable line up. Once they added Fujita and Eagles they've only grown stronger and more prominent, featuring in big match ups and challenging for championships all over.

8) NEVER 6-MAN Openweight Champions - Whilst not really a faction, I'm counting trios because this is my awards not yours. CHAOS members Kazuchika Okada and Tomohiro Ishii joined forces with Hiroshi Tanahashi to form an Audioslave level Supergroup to dominate the 6-man division in New Japan. They've held the titles since May and they might just hold on to them forever they're that good. Okada and Ishii already had chemistry but the budding love-hate relationship between Tanahashi and Ishii has made some entertaining moments on screen.

7) The Bloodline - The angle has significantly cooled off in the last 6 months, when Jimmy betrayed Jey for a pretty weak reason and just went back to the Bloodline, it's all went a might bleh. WWE realised they had a year to kill before we get Rhodes vs Reigns II as well as Jey vs Jimmy. However, though the story has went a little sour, don't forget how epic the first 5 months of the year was. A continuation of the awesome story of last year saw Zayn turn face, Owens and Zayn reunite to dethrone the Usos, the Usos turn face and Jey being the first to pin Reigns in literal years. Some great stuff.

6) Damage CTRL - Almost a complete reverse of the prior entry. Damage CTRL were pretty hot when they began mid last year, but they cooled off near the start of 2023 after Wrestlemania. Then, Iyo Sky cashed in her MITB to become champion and the faction began to thrive again. The story between Bayley and Iyo has been subtle and great which I think will translate to a Bayley rumble win and a Wrestlemania match. Kai has been injured but she has still added a lot to the group as an outside voice. Asuka & a returning Kairi Sane being added looked amazing as the faction feels to be falling out of Bayley's grasp. They've had a great year and I think it'll be just as good next year when they make some more member changes.

5) Blackpool Combat Club - Talk about Supergroups. 2 of the very best wrestlers in the world, a very good wrestler with a fork fetish and a great wrestler destined to also reach goat status. As well as the great singles success from all members, they've been a dominant unit in their feuds against the likes of the Elite and Best Friends. Some great matches, some violent matches, all entertaining.

4) Bullet Club Gold - The only reason the Bang Bang Gang is this low is they're still relatively new the the faction game. Established as a tag team in April they became a stable when they added the Gunns to their arsenal. Great matches and great promos followed, the Gunns have improved massively during their Too Sweet time with Juice and Jay. A few more months of them being a stable, plus if Juice didn't get injured, could have secured them a place at the top.

3) Imperium - I demand your full gratitude as we hype up Imperium. Led by the unstoppable Ring General Gunther, it's been a top class year for these 3 that only would have been sweeter if we saw those tag straps around the waists of Ludwig & Vinci.

2) House of Black - Even when holding the Trios championships this faction felt like an afterthought in AEW booking. However, Malakai and his goth friends refused to be slept on, consistently putting on excellent tag matches with the intriguing 'House Rules' stipulation making every contest feel fresher than the last. Every member plays their part to a tee, I hope for an even bigger year for the House in 2024.

1) Judgment Day - Remember when the Judgment Day was formed last year and after about 4 months we all wrote them off as being another great idea poorly executed? How impatient and wrong we were. Sure they had teething issues, but once Dom turned heel to join the ranks they've been going from strength to strength. Arguably, all 5 members are doing the best character work and in-ring work of their entire careers. It'll be interesting to see how they do next year, but 2023 has been all about Judgment Day.


Midnight Express Award (best tag team)

Specifically, Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane I think we're the greatest tag team of all time. At least until recently. I think they might be second now:

10) Bullet Club War Dogs (Alex Coughlin & Gabriel Kidd) - You may think these don't deserve to even be in the conversation right now and maybe you're right, but hot damn if these two aren't the most entertaining workers on the New Japan roster right now. In Bullet Club's darkest time, these two are really two diamonds in the rough having great matches and being great fun to watch. Another pair of future stars in my opinion.

9) Better Than You Bay Bay - AEW is possibly having its worst year in its short history. Backstage issues, ticket selling issues, booking issues, their owner/booker/promoter being off his rocker. However, it has been far from all bad. The MJF & Cole story was one of the most entertaining arcs on AEW television, they had untapped chemistry which has led to an unexpected MJF face turn. Their tag team together has been so fun to watch, the only reason it's not higher is due to Cole's injury putting plans on the back burner.

8) Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn - Another entry lower than it could have been due to not running for as long as it could or should. Owens & Zayn reconciling and winning the tag titles was awesome and they had a nice mini reign as champions. Unfortunately Owens got injured after they dropped the titles and we wouldn't see much of them as a tag as Zayn focused on his Judgment Day feud and Owens focused on Smackdown feuds.

7) Alpha Academy - SHOOOOOSH! Whilst Gable has got a bit of light cast as a phenomenal singles, he and Otis have had a very entertaining year together, mainly with some great work on Raw against the likes of Imperium and Viking Raiders.

6) The Acclaimed - In a company riddled with very talented wrestlers with little personality, the Acclaimed stand out in AEW for their boisterous characters and bombshell promo work. Are there better in-ring workers in AEW? Yes. But are there any teams who entertaining quite like them? Not many at all.

5) The Gunns - I remember audibly groaning when they dethroned the Acclaimed for the tag titles, thinking they weren't ready. Maybe they weren't but since the Gunns have stepped up their game massively both as wrestlers and as performers, doing some great heel work totally fitting of the Bullet Club ethos.

4) ABC - Two very good wrestlers doesn't always equal a great team, but it certainly does here. Since forming in July of 2022, Chris Bey & Ace Austin have become Impact's best tag team. They have such great chemistry, bringing the best out of each other and complimenting each others work. Joining the BC only grew their status to one of the best tag teams in the world today.

3) Aussie Open - Even the stop and start year they've had due to injury could not derail the Aussies from having one of the best years of their careers. Making waves in New Japan, AEW, ROH & Impact, winning 3 major tag championships across 3 promotions. The Aussies have just begun capturing the world's attention, if they can stay healthy they'll be pushing for number 1 next year.

2) Bishamon - This team formation has seen both Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI do some of the best work of their entire career. They've held the IWGP Tag championships for most of the year, they've won the World Tag League for an unprecedented 3rd year in a row. They're New Japan's most unstoppable team right now and I don't see any other team on their level, at least in their own country.

1) FTR - This shouldn't come to a surprise to anyone who knows me. I genuinely think these two could be the greatest tag team to ever live. I really do. They're so malleable with whatever style they have to work with and they're so damn fucking good at tag team wrestling. I think they'll be number one every year as long as they keep wrasslin. The absolute pinnacle (intended pun) of tag wrestling.


Billy & Doe Awards (Best male/female wrestler)

Goat references, I thought it was clever. To appease and shush the woke, this is to what the sex of the division you work in, not your gender. Eg, I know Abadon goes by they/them, however they compete in the Women's division therefore will fall into that category. I ain't doing an award for every gender there is or I'll be here all day researching peope I've never heard of. Let's start with the ladies. Two honourable mentions. First Guilia, who I've heard is amazing and I've enjoyed the matches I've seen but I haven't seen her enough to include her. Also, Mercedes Mone who I think would have placed high this year if it wasn't for her injury early in the year. The few matches she had were all bangers. Here are the nomin

10) Deonna Purrazzo - She has been reliably one of the best women wrestlers on Impact's roster since debuting there and it's more of the same this year. She won her third Knockouts championship this year and has been a consistent fixture in the main event scene.

9) Kris Statlander- She returned from injury in a big way, being the first to defeat Jade Cargill at Double or Nothing. Statlander had a great 6 month reign as TBS Champion, proving that she is in the top tier of AEW's women's division.

8) Asuka - Another memorable return, Asuka came back from a short break at the Royal Rumble looking more like her former identity Kana. She's been a consistently great performer both on PPV and on TV with a short reign as Women's Champion too. She recently joined her friends in Damage CTRL and had a great match at Survivor Series, the Empress is always one of the best.

7) Jordynne Grace - Impact's most physically imposing star is possibly the best female talent that they have. She had few month break midyear but that didn't derail her putting on good to great matches on fje regular. Whether she's kicking women's asses or mens asses, her dominance is captivating.

6) Hikaru Shida - I dread to think of an AEW roster without Shida, she has been the backbone, ribcage and skull of the entire women's division pretty much since day 1. She's so good she can carry almost anyone to a decent match, except a lazy Ruby Soho.

5) Iyo Sky - I'm beyond overjoyed to see Iyo as a world champion in WWE. She's had some great matches and moments, if she had a better first half of the year she could have been a number 1 contender.

4) Rhea Ripley - You might think thisnis harsh but here me out. Quarter 1 was amazing for Rhea, great performances at the Rumble, Elimination Chamber and then Wrestlemania. Since them, whilst her character work and role in the Judgment Day has been brilliant, her title reign feels a little forgotten about. She has had good matches since Mania, but nothing even close to that quality. More disappointing title matches than good ones, Rhea has been phenomenally dominant but her reign has lacked any actual threat or big matchup.

3) Tam Nakano - If I had been able to watch more of her work this year, she would probably win. The matches I've seen from the Cosmic Angels leader have been fantastic, but I haven't seen enough of her to rare her as my number 1. Amazing wrestler though.

2) Becky Lynch - whilst not in the main event scene consistently, Lynch has had an amazing year. From feuding with Damage CTRL to feuding with Trish Stratus to winning the NXT Women's championship to WarGames. She has been in and amongst some of the best matches and feuds of the year. This has been her best year since 2019.

1) Athena - No one has had a year quite like Athena. She's less than 30 days away now from a 400 day reign. No one in AEW or Impact has reached 400+ days. Only 5 women in WWE history have done that, including Moolah which preceeded the WWF. She's been a dominant champion and pretty much every match she's had this year has been great with many matches being some of the best of the year. While many of the other women have exceeded in certain areas, Athena has exceeded in all of them. Match quality, character work, title reign length/quality, promos etc. She's been the absolute ACE this year. I hope 2024 sees her move over and dominate the AEW division next.


And now, for the billies:

10) Tetsuya Naito - This years G1 Climax winner is easily one of the greatest wrestlers in New Japan history. He doesn't get too high because he's been wrapped up in a lot of multi-man matches, but Naito had a solid run in the New Japan Cup and an excellent G1 showing.

9) Claudio Castagnoli - He may not be the ROH champion anymore but he's still been consistently fantastic in the ring. From multi-man violence with the BCC to singles epics with Kingston or PAC, Claudio seemingly can't have a bad match even if he tried. A botch would just naturally transform into a clean ass uppercut.

8) MJF - If the second half of 2023 was like the first, MJF would have cracked the top 5. His character seemed to have lost focus with being ROH Tag champion as well as his weird feuds with Samoa Joe, Jay White and "The Devil". However, he has still been the king of promos and his matches have been great. Two MOTY candidates and a more often than not the best match on the PPV card, MJF is at his best and has still not peaked as a performer.

7) Seth Rollins - With Reigns being more absent than my dad, Rollins has absolutely stepped up as a fighting world champion. He's had some great matches on PPV and TV, often having the best match of the show. Even before his time as Heavyweight champion, he was part of the awesome Chamber match and had a great contest with Logan Paul. He's over as rover and his fan support is still hot. A feud with CM Punk seems destined to happen soon which is major levels of hype.

6) Ilja Dragunov - I've loved Dragunov since I saw him at a Progress show years ago, I'm so gassed he is finally getting his run at the top of NXT. Aside from NXT Deadline, Ilja Dragunov has had the best match on every NXT PLE he's appeared on. Whether he is leathering Dijak or challenging Carmelo Hayes, Dragunov has been cementing his status as one of WWE's greatest wrestlers. He's proven in the past in NXT UK how good he is, but NXT in the US is a much larger audience and he is now getting his well earned flowers.

5) Bryan Danielson - Only this low due to his lack of matches this year due to injuries and general winding down, Bryan has earned his spot in the GOAT conversation. He's had MOTY candidates with MJF and Zack Sabre Jr, whilst also working backstage with Tony Khan to help produce the product. It would be hard to argue that Danielson is not the greatest of all time, if only he didn't get so hurt he could have topped this list.

4) Zack Sabre Jr - As well as having excellent dream matches, ZSJ has been defending his NJPW TV championship in reliably great matches in 15-minute time limits. 15 successful title defences throughout the year, but that's not all. He had an awesome run in the G1 Climax reaching the quarterfinals. He was integral to the success of TMDK's debut year as a faction. He's been putting on great matches across the globe in various promotions. I've been a fan of ZSJ for many years and he has had a lot of great ones, but this year arguably could be his best year ever.

3) Sami Zayn - If he's not in your top 10 this year then you're underrating him. 2022 was a phenomenal year for Zayn as a character, but as both a character and a wrestler 2023 has been Zayn's best since his time in NXT. His amazing work as a part of the Bloodline turned into amazing work as their adversary. His tag team with Owens led to one of the best tag team matches in WWE history. I could go on and on. The first quarter of 2023 saw Zayn be THE most over performer in the company, almost 'Yes! Movement' Daniel Bryan levels of fan support. Most recently he was part of one of the best WarGames matches I have watched, when he and his fellow good guys defeated the Judgment Day. Hopefully a world title run is still possible in Zayn's future.

2) Gunther - He now holds the longest ever reign for the Intercontinental championship. 12 televised title defences this year, not including any dark matches or House show contests. A match of the year contender at Wrestlemania. One of the best iron man performances in a Royal Rumble ever, spending the longest amount of time in a Royal Rumble (excluding the 50-man Saudi Rumble). Gunther has been one of the best wrestlers in WWE since day 1, but 2023 has saw him breakout and prove that he is ready to claim the spot as the Fed's next top monster.

1) Will Ospreay- Are you surprised? Out fo all the MOTY candidates I have shortlisted, he is part of 3 of them, and that is only the ones I've managed to watch. For years he has been regarded as one of the best wrestlers in the world, but now he might just actually be the best. He's having more and better matches than the top guy in every major promotion. He is heavily sought after by every major promotion in the world. What else is there to say? I predict he will win this award next year too unless he gets injured or someone really steps up.


X-7 Award (best major show)

Wrestlemania X-7 is prolly the best wrestling event ever, it is certainly in the conversation. We have had a lot of great shows this year, so many that I struggled to wittle this down so I have 11 to talk about because I couldn't leave out any of them.

11) STARDOM: All Star Grand Queendom - This show was my first exposure to STARDOM and wow, I was beyond impressed. There was a few average matches in the undercard/midcard but we got a series of excellent women's matches. Maika defeated Himeka in an emotional battle between tag partners as this would be Himeka's retirement match. REstart featuring Kairi Sane defeat Prominence for the Artist of STARDOM championships. An IWGP dream match between Mayu Iwatani and Mercedes Mone. I haven't even touched on the best matches on the card, because one of them we will talk about for our last award. If you're unfamiliar with STARDOM, watch this show and like me you will be converted.

10) NJPW: Dominion - This was a show opened by a lightning quick Ospreay vs Archer match to set up Omega vs Ospreay 2. The show ticked on with some good matches but it really got great with our final trio. BOSJ winner Master Wato showed his potential unsuccessfully challenging Takahashi for the Jr. Heavyweight title. Claudio Castagnoli stepped into a New Japan ring for the first time when the BCC challenged Okada, Ishii & Tanahashi. The show closed with an awesome title defence by SANADA, but the real star was recently returning Yota Tsuji who proved he is a mega star in the making. A well structured card with some greatness.

9) NJPW: Sakura Genesis - Like the previous and most New Japan shows, it's a card with average to good undercard and some great matches in the final half. A rare triple threat match for the IWGP women's title was an exciting sprint. Zack Sabre Jr chalked up another great title defence defeating upcomer Shota Umino. Bishamon vs Aussie Open was one of the best tag team matches of the year with the Australians picking up a huge victory. The show closed with a great and shocking title win for SANADA, finally getting his first world title that many felt he has deserved.

8) ROH: Death Before Dishonor - A show I forgotten and nearly skipped over but I was glad to have went back to watch. It started off solidly with a pair of average matches, picking up when Aussie Open won the ROH tag titles in an exhilerating 4-way tag. The final 4 matches were all excellent in their own ways, capped off with a MOTY main event, one of the best women's matches I've ever seen.

7) AEW: All Out - A lot of criticism was fired for the lack of build and promotion for All Out, but somehow AEW pulled out a great show only a week following their groundbreaking UK megashow. The show really got hyped when Miro vs Powerhouse Hobbs was an expected meat vs meat classic that got a lot of fan interest. Following the firing of CM Punk, Bryan Danielson steps in to face Ricky Starks in a brutal strap match built around Ricky Steamboat. Omega vs Takeshita was predictably great, as was the International championship main event between Orange and Moxley.

6) NJPW x AEW: Forbidden Door - The annual get together between Japanese and American wrestling churns out dream match classics. This show had a lot of good or great matches but it was all about two matches in particular. Omega vs Ospreay 2 being one of the best matches of the year and the first time ever meeting between Danielson and Okada. The main event had a mildly disappointing ending with Bryan faking a seizure which really upset me, but it was still awesome. We'll talk about Omega vs Ospreay later on.

5) AEW: Revolution - A show I didn't even watch until November, but it's probably AEW's best this year thanks in part to the greatest Iron Man match of all time. It's not the only that though that shone on this card. The Elite vs House of Black was a great trios match, the Final Burial was a fun and goofy story-driven match and the Texas Deathmatch was typically brutal as expected.

4) WWE: Survivor Series - One thing I appreciate more about WWE cards compared to their competitors is the size. They're shorter cards with a shorter run time, I don't feel burn out during. This was a digestible 5 match card, the midcard featured 3 good matches but the stars are two two WarGames matches. The opener was a great, weapon-filled match with your usual caged action. The main event though was one of the best I've seen, excellent action with great storytelling with lots of awesome small nuances. The return of Randy Orton and a certain straight edge messiah also helps this show being one of the best.

3) NJPW: Wrestle Kingdom 17 - New Japan's Flagship show as usual is their biggest and best of the year, packed with great matches. This time, we might have even seen the best wrestling match, of all time? Depends who you ask. Omega and Ospreay's first meeting was an iconic showdown between two of world's best today. Even without that match, this has some great matches including a 4-way for the Jr Heavyweight championship and the epic Okada vs White main event.

2) WWE: Wrestlemania 39 Saturday - If Wrestlemania was just this day, Wrestlemania 39 was the greatest Wrestlemania of all time. 2 MOTY candidates, a barn burner between Rollins and Logan Paul, the return of Pat MacAfee to squash The Miz etc etc. It was moment after moment, good match after good match. I even rate Cena vs Theory more than everyone else does. This was a stellar show. The Sunday was still good, but the Saturday was an unbeatable show. It would have been my pick for best show this year, if I didn't go to a certain show myself.

1) AEW: All In - This show has bias working in it's favour because I was there, and it is one of my most fondest memories. There is so much about this show I loved. It was my first time in the expansive Wembley Stadium and it's breathtaking. Seeing UK legend Grado appear on the pre-show. Getting to see my childhood hero CM Punk in the flesh. The amazing FTR vs Young Bucks match. Adam Cole and MJF both opening and closing the show in a beautiful narrative. The brutal stadium stampede. Saraya's feel good title win. Will Ospreay and Jericho killing it. This was a magical moment that they can never replicate. I was at the first ever AEW show in the UK and it is in the top largest shows in wrestling history. It was a special day for me and I will remember it for years to come.


Milky Way Award (best match)

There are between 100-400 billion stars in the Milky Way, but still not as many stars as 'Dirty' Dave Meltzer will rate the next time Kazuchika Okada and Kenny Omega meet. Unlike the rest of the awards, I have shortlisted every match I have seen and rated 5 stars this year and I'll run through them from worst to best, once again in my opinion.

17) Men's WarGames, WWE Survivor Series - An all out war featuring the Judgement Day and their new ally Drew McIntyre, taking on all their biggest rivals on Raw as well as the returning Randy Orton. It was a great ending the the months long angle of Judgement Day destroying all on Raw in their way, everyone got their showcase and Orton looked in great shape in his return match.

16) Will Ospreay (c) vs Yota Tsuji, NJPW Destruction in Kobe - Tsuji has made a great impact since returning to New Japan, immediately challenging the IWGP Heavyweight champion SANADA. A few months after, Tsuji got a pinfall over Ospreay in a tag match setting up this encounter. An excellent big guy vs little guy match, Tsuji once again proving he can hang with the top wrestlers in the company.

15) Giulia (c) vs Tam Nakano, STARDOM All-Star Grand Queendom - After hearing rave reviews about STARDOM for years I finally watched some this year and I was blown away. The main event of this show was another chapter in the rivalry that began in 2020. Here, the Cosmic Angels leader finally got a win over Giulia in arguably their best match together, winning her first World of Stardom Championship.

14) Tetsuya Naito vs Kazuchika Okada, NJPW G1 Climax Finals - When you see these two names paired together, you can almost guarantee yourself a match of the year candidate. This is their best meeting since Wrestle Kingdom 14, your usual hard-hitting contest with the right man going over.

13) Roman Reigns (c) vs Sami Zayn, WWE Elimination Chamber - Zayn was at his most over here, fresh off a babyface turn and he was wrestling the top heel in his hometown. It's almost perfect It would have been even more perfect with a Sami Zayn victory but it was never going to happen. A great match full of emotion and top notch storytelling, the interference finish was getting a little stale but it was fitting of the narrative.

12) Tetsuya Naito vs Will Ospreay, NJPW G1 Climax Tag 18 - Similar to the other G1 Climax match, seeing these two names guarantee an epic match. Counter after counter after counter, both men left it all in the ring. Naito hit 3 Destino's barely conscious to secure the deserved victory.

11) FTR (c) vs Bullet Club Gold, AEW Collision 15/7/23 - This was the opening match of the show and it went nearly a full hour long. A 58 minute 2 out of 3 falls match to end the rivalry between the two teams. This was tag team perfection. The heels were excellent heat magnets, especially Jay White channelling his inner Shawn Michaels. However, FTR channelled their inner Bret Hart and scored a Sharpshooter victory in Canada for a huge reaction.

10) MJF (c) vs Adam Cole, AEW All In - Again, other matches on this list might be better in-ring but watching this live was an emotional rollercoaster. The friendly rivalry getting more bitter and aggressive, the teased Adam Cole heel turn and eventually the reconciliation for a wholesome babyface end to the show. MJF showed his versatility as both AEW's top heel and top face.

9) Athena (c) vs Willow Nightingale, ROH Death Before Dishonor - I think this is a criminally underrated match and one of my favourite women's matches. I wasn't too familiar with Willow but she impressed me here. The real story though is Athena once again proving why she has been the best female wrestler in 2023.

8) Saya Kamitani (c) vs Hazuki, STARDOM Triangle Derby 1 - This match absolutely blew me away, I would have rated higher if I was more familiar with both stars going into this. Hazuki was absolutely vicious whilst Kamitani was a survivor who held on and pulled off big moves to retain.

7) Gunther (c) vs Sheamus vs Drew McIntyre, WWE Wrestlemania 39.2 - Sometimes all you want from your wrestling are 3 big muscular boys willing to slap the meat off of each other. I intended that to sound less sexual than I wanted. Still, an absolute war with the greatest threat to Gunther's reign yet. They leathered each other and we saw some nice storytelling between rivals and friends Sheamus and Drew both desperate to secure the win.

6) Charlotte Flair (c) vs Rhea Ripley, WWE Wrestlemania 39.1 - This honestly, to me, is the best women's match in WWE history. For real, what else compares? There have been many great women's matches and I can only think of 3 that may hold a candle to this one. Just wrestling perfection, even Charlotte at the end was clearly proud of what they pulled off there.

5) MJF (c) vs Bryan Danielson, AEW Revolution - The best Iron Man match I have ever watched. The storytelling was perfect. The in-ring action was perfect. The pacing was perfect. It never felt like it dragged for a minute. MJF was being a peak heel, but Bryan was being a peak pro wrestler.

4) Kenny Omega (c) vs Will Ospreay, AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door - Trying to rank any of these top 5 was insanely difficult but I'm going off how invested and memorable each match was to me. This was an epic rematch with hardcore rules, they told the story of how much they hated each other so well and we were all baited in by a Don Callis interference being the closing spot.

3) Will Ospreay (c) vs Kenny Omega, NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17 - From an in-ring perspective, maybe this deserves to be top because it is one of the best wrestled matches I have seen. It had a slice of every wrestling style all rolled into a miasma of grappling greatness. Words do not do this justice, however I was more emotionally invested in two other matches.

2) The Uso's (c) vs Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens, WWE Wrestlemania 39.1 - Cody Rhodes may have not finished his story, but Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens certainly did. The Bloodline saga continued after this and you can argue it is still a hot ongoing angle, but this felt like a big blow off to almost a year of storytelling for Sami Zayn's involvement with the Samoan Dynasty. Not only a superb piece of tag wrestling, a shining example of long-term booking and elite storytelling.

1) Bryan Danielson vs Zack Sabre Jr., AEW Wrestledream - For years I and many others have dreamed of seeing this match. This was one of the biggest dream matches we wished for when a working relationship between AEW and New Japan was revealed. Ever since Zack appeared in the Cruiserweight Classic, and a then injured Daniel Bryan had to commentate on his matches, I wanted to see these two go head to head. Arguably number 1 and number 2 in terms of technical wrestling, these two locked up and it achieved and exceeded my expectations. This was a masterclass that will be difficult to replicate or top by any one apart from these two having a rematch.


Those are all of my awards, here is a quick breakdown of all the winners:

Tito Santana Award- Butch

Warrior Award - Tyrus

Dehydrated Piss Award - Tyrus vs EC3, NWA 75

Brahma Bull Award - LA Knight

Windham Rotunda Award - Christian Cage

Gordon Solie Award - Chris Charlton

Wall of Death Award - Demon in Your Dreams (Rhea Ripley)

Bah God Almighty! Award - CM Punk Returns

Bobby Heenan Award - Don Callis

Next Big Thing Award - Tiffany Stratton

Horsemen Award - Judgement Day

Midnight Express Award - FTR

Billy Goat Award - Will Ospreay

Doe Goat Award - Athena

X-7 Award - AEW All In

Milky Way Award - Bryan Danielson vs Zack Sabre Jr, AEW Wrestledream




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