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Wrestler of the Year 2017


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#1 concrete1992

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Posted 16 December 2017 - 09:26 AM

Sometimes it feels like PWO is more "old school" focused with such quality discussion on this thread I'm interested to hear who you think is this year's Wrestler of the Year and why. You can use any metric you want.

 

For me it is without question David Starr. Has wrestled a ton of places this year, putting on good to great matches everywhere. Then when you see him in his homebases of Beyond and wXw he cranks it up to another level against guys like WALTER and Joey Janela. 



#2 ShittyLittleBoots

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Posted 16 December 2017 - 09:45 AM

My WOTY list is based on the matches I've rated ***1/2+ this year. Here's what I got in the top-30 at the moment:

 

1. Zack Sabre Jr.
2. Matt Riddle
3. Keith Lee
4. Timothy Thatcher
5. WALTER
6. Ricochet
7. Juice Robinson
8. Trevor Lee
9. Will Ospreay
10. Tetsuya Naito
11. Travis Banks
12. Hiroshi Tanahashi
13. KUSHIDA
14. Pete Dunne
15. Tomohiro Ishii
16. Kazuchika Okada
17. Hiromu Takahashi
18. Minoru Suzuki
19. Kenny Omega
20. Fred Yehi
21. Roman Reigns
22. Matt Jackson
23. Nick Jackson
24. Braun Strowman
25. Sami Callihan
26. AJ Styles
27. Katsuyori Shibata
28. SANADA
29. BUSHI
30. Trent Beretta

 



#3 KawadaSmile

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Posted 16 December 2017 - 03:52 PM

I don't think anyone has had a better YEAR than Roman Reigns - at least not from the companies I've followed through most of 2017.

 

While someone like say, Naito or Okada, might have had the best match of the year, few, if any, have been as consistent as Roman throughout those 12 months. PPVs, TV matches, singles, tags, gimmick stuff, he's good in every single one of those categories, against pretty much every single one of his opponents.

 

He's been delivering consistently since at least Summerslam 2014. Dude's just great.



#4 SmartMark15

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Posted 16 December 2017 - 10:37 PM

Seconding Kawada on this. Reigns has remained hot, relevant, and always put on quality. I think his only close competition is AJ Styles but Styles had a tepid period with the US Title whereas Roman has been part of incredibly hot stories all year.

He got a good brawl out of Owens, retired Taker, had an amazing feud with Strowman, hot promos with Cena, over Shield reunion, hot IC Title run. The guy is killing it and seems to get better every week.

#5 joeg

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Posted 16 December 2017 - 11:18 PM

I enjoy David Starr, but come on really? 

 

here are the guys I would nominate-

 

Roman Reigns- case has already been made above. 

 

AJ Styles- Multiple great matches, was even fun when relegated to the US title, highlight of every show he's on

 

Kazuchika Okada- An incredible title reign. Even if the Dome match wasn't your cup of tea (which I can understand), this was the year he put it all together. The defenses against MiSu,  Shibata, Ibushi, and Cody were all awesome. Had a great G1 run as well. Each title defense was a completely different match with a different story. He's became such a great white meat babyface and I can't think of anybody currently with a better babyface comeback or who is better at fighting from underneath. 

 

Kento Miyahara- His Triple Crown matches have been incredible, he's responsible for keeping All Japan alive and interesting

 

Tetsuya Naito- Possibly the most compelling title chase I've seen since Daniel Bryan 4 years ago. Solid matches, a great gimmick,  he's slowly turned from a heel to the hottest baby face in the company over the last 18 months or so during the title chase. 

 

Kenny Omega- I enjoyed the matches with Okada. I know I might be in the minority around here with that opinion. I enjoyed his G1 run. and I find the current feud with Jericho to be the most fun feud I've seen in a decade.



#6 Dylan Waco

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Posted 17 December 2017 - 01:47 AM

I think concrete was touting Starr as an in ring WOTY. While he wouldnt be my number 1, I think hes a very reasonable contender if you are a regular wXw and Beyond viewer. I certainly dont see him as any more or less fringy than Miyahara is.

Speaking of which, I think WALTER has a very strong case. Great everywhere, several MOTYCs, strong in tags and singles, great series against both Riddle and Starr, made a huge impact in US debut. Has an aura and is a unique presence in the ring.

Id consider Reigns, Keith Lee, Riddle and Yehi as well. Maybe a few others

#7 concrete1992

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Posted 17 December 2017 - 07:21 AM

Would have been interested in you picking a part his case rather than just dropping it joeg but alright.

 

Starr and WALTER has been the best rivalry of 2017. Every match they square off with one another is a display of violence. WALTER comes off as a complete monster while Starr feels like the best babyface on the planet. His body language is incredible and his eyes can deliver their own punch to the stomach. They have done it in tags and singles and each time it is incredible.

 

Starr has also shown that as a quasi-deathmatch wrestler he as actually pretty great. The matches against Janela and Gage are beyond those of a traditional hardcore match. Riddle had a great match against Gage but he didn't EMBRACE the environment like Starr who screamed as he tore off barbed wire from a board with his bare hands. Not saying Janela and Gage weren't big parts of those matches but I highly appreciate a wrestler embracing that style of wrestling when it comes at him.

 

Other matches of note that I want to throw out in his favor, the I Quit match against I Quit. The banter gets a bit gross at times but the concept plus the quality of action makes the overall journey with it in my eyes. Has two matches against Zack Sabre. Jr. in CZW and PROGRESS, both being great. Pair those with his matches against Matt Riddle and Jeff Cobb and he is as good as anyone on the mat. The Homicide wXw match as a nice throwback ROH 2000's midcard match was a hoot. There is also a Corey Hollis match from PWX which is probably going to be in my top 10 for MOTY. I recommend watching Lio Rush vs. Corey Hollis after because it is similar in concept but magnitudes worse in execution. Made me appreciate a match I love a little more. The Hollis match is a strong example of Starr selling a limb as well as showing him at his most sympathetic. 

 

So yes, David Starr, really. 

 

PS For what it is worth I right now have WALTER #2. The Starr series. The Thatcher tag. Works well with everyone. Demigod. Has it all.



#8 Matt D

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Posted 17 December 2017 - 07:36 AM

Someone point me to a few free WALTER matches online. I havent seen anything of him at all.

#9 Childs

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Posted 17 December 2017 - 08:28 AM

I'm a little surprised Riddle is still near the top of some lists. Thought he took a step back this year. He still brings enormous charisma, and his best matches have been terrific. But I find him less interesting as he becomes more of a pro wrestler and less of an ex-MMA guy. He now has a clear formula that relies on some spots--the upkick counter, that awful looking tombstone, the suplex no-sell--that I dont like at all. And he never has mastered worked strikes. I was in love with him 18 months ago. Now I'm not.

I'm also not a fan of Starr, though I haven't studied his work closely enough to make a good argument. The Walter series struck me as a really good big man against an okay little man, with Starr bringing a lot of energy but little else of note.

The guy who really won me over this year was Sabre. Loved his EVOLVE stuff early in the year against Hero and Thatcher, thought he maintained a high level in PWG highlighted by his miracle match against Chucky T and found his New Japan work in the G1 and against Tanahashi consistency interesting. I was a skeptic on him for years, but he's streamlined his work and thrives as a heel. Don't know that he's my WOTY but he's right in the mix.



#10 Grimmas

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Posted 17 December 2017 - 09:53 AM

I think Kairi Sane would had been my number one if the four way at Takeover was a MOTYC, but it wasn't so she is in the top 5.

 

Outside of that, I've been all over the place with watching. Like I have the WWE ppvs and NXT, but outside of that, I have two months of one promotion, 4 months of another, 3 of another, it's all over the place.

 

Can I call the Usos as co-workers of the year or Cesaro and Sheamus?



#11 SmartMark15

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Posted 17 December 2017 - 10:24 AM

Dark horse mentions for BRAUN and Johnny Gargano. Braun, for one, while not having a strong enough case for WOTY certainly has the strongest case for Most Improved of the Year. From a footnote in a stable to one of the hottest acts of the year, completely shattering the "workrate" era image.

Gargano has turned into probably the absolute best babyface on NXT and has retained all his heat despite being on the losing end of most of his feuds.

#12 Phil Schneider

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Posted 17 December 2017 - 11:04 AM

How has Trevor Lee's non CWF stuff been, I liked him in the 3-way with Low-Ki, although Ki was the standout. I wasn't in love with some of his early workratey CWF defenses (Daniels, Day, Elgin), but he has been on a huge roll during the second half of the year, working very different title matches against a cool variety of wrestlers, loved the ECW brawl with Nick Richards, his little guy v. big guy match against Mecha Mercenary, the Aric Andrews match built around body part selling, his almost Tenryuish performances against Sharpe and in the Battle Royal. Seems like a guy who is doing a wide variety of things very well.



#13 grizzlyedwin

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Posted 17 December 2017 - 11:24 AM

 Reigns, Styles and Braun are the top 3 guys for me with Pete Dunne possibly being #4.

Reigns on a weekly basis steps up with quality matches and on PPV's he really steps it up a notch.

Styles too and I would probably place him above Reigns simply because he got the best he managed to break the Lesnar formula and got the best match out of him that anyone has been able to in a straight up singles match, plus he also got the best possible match out of Jinder too. Also lets not forget his performance against Bálor. Plus the Cena match from early this year.

 

Braun has been improving massively since last year and deserves a mention. He looked amazing in the the previously mentioned 4 way. His performance in the singles match against was underwhelming, but that's not to his fault though simply because the booking for it sucked.

 

Dunne has had the great series with British Strong Style and the Gargano match from TakeOver. I haven't seen much of his indy work from this year, but I saw his match with Travis Banks from PROGRESS this year, for example, was way, way too much.

 

I haven't watched much indy wrestling this year, but how does everyone feel about possibly bringing Keith Lee as a top 5 in discussion? I've seen some of his PWG and EVOLVE work and he's been fantastic. That match with Dijak from WM weekend at EVOLVE was pretty great iirc. His match with Ricochet from the same weekend was pretty fantastic too. Possibly the best match I've seen Ricochet in ever. The Leo Rush match from that weekend was fantastic too. He may have been the best worker from that entire WM weekend with back-to-back fantastic performances with a variety of opponents.



#14 Richeyedwards

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Posted 17 December 2017 - 11:32 AM

From the wrestling I watch (in order of most watched), ajpw, DG, wwe, noah, njpw, cwf, bjw, stardom, Sendai girls, cmll, and then some one off matches in promotions such as AAA, barcel entertainment, ddt, tna and some other stuff.

My favourite wrestler of the year is kento miyahara, as for being the best wrester looking at things more analytical it is between kento, shuji ishikawa, reigns and maybe big r shimizu.

Kento is in my top three matches of the year so you may think him, but I don't think he is the best worker in those matches, I think shuji is better in the two world title matches.

Someone like Trevor lee has maybe the most consistent high level of work in cwf but I don't think he has as much stuff as kento or reigns does if you count it up.

Big r is an interesting one as he is a big boss working in dragon gate, a promotion of flippy JR's, he worked really well as a base for the smaller guys to bounce off he had yamato's best match in king of gate and the match with mochizuki was a great heated match which went exactly as long as it should have clocking in at 14 mins in a very un-dragon gate style match. He also works really well as the big brother in the tag matches with the likes of kotoka.

Ishikawa is amazing he is in his mid 40s now but in the best run of his life, just comming in and winning the cc beating kento to end his company changing run, turning Jake lee into a believable main eventer after fans being not 100% believing in him before that and having suwamas best match since 2013 maybe. Before having my match of the year with kento at sumo hall. He was consistent in the tags and had a good run in he tag tourny teaming with suwama before the great match with kento and yoshihashi.

Reigns has already been talked about, very consistent with the Braun feud and just a generally good TV worker.

I guess that I would probably go with kento as wrestler of the year due to both his matches but also how he connects with the crowd as a babyface ace to the younger kids and at the same time he can put in arrogant performances when it seems that the opponent is more over on the night. It's his ace work that puts him over the top for me.

Sorry for that being so long and rambling.

#15 Laz

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Posted 17 December 2017 - 11:38 AM

While I wouldn't put him as the BEST of 2017, necessarily, my favorite this year has been Mikey Whiplash. Great gimmick, great look, very very solid hand, and managed to get me to cheer on Chris "I make Sandman look like a technical maestro" Renfrew.

#16 Magnum Milano

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Posted 17 December 2017 - 11:43 AM

Sorry for that being so long and rambling.

 

Don't apologize dude, I enjoyed reading all that.



#17 Zoo Enthusiast

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Posted 17 December 2017 - 12:03 PM

 I haven't watched much indy wrestling this year, but how does everyone feel about possibly bringing Keith Lee as a top 5 in discussion? I've seen some of his PWG and EVOLVE work and he's been fantastic. That match with Dijak from WM weekend at EVOLVE was pretty great iirc. His match with Ricochet from the same weekend was pretty fantastic too. Possibly the best match I've seen Ricochet in ever. The Leo Rush match from that weekend was fantastic too. He may have been the best worker from that entire WM weekend with back-to-back fantastic performances with a variety of opponents.

I'm not sure he's quite in top five discussion but I love Keith Lee almost always.  He also had a terrific match with Ishii a month or so ago on one of the Rev Pro/NJPW shows in the UK (available on NJPW World) and last weekend had what I thought was a fantastic match with WALTER in EVOLVE.



#18 Childs

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Posted 17 December 2017 - 12:22 PM

How has Trevor Lee's non CWF stuff been, I liked him in the 3-way with Low-Ki, although Ki was the standout. I wasn't in love with some of his early workratey CWF defenses (Daniels, Day, Elgin), but he has been on a huge roll during the second half of the year, working very different title matches against a cool variety of wrestlers, loved the ECW brawl with Nick Richards, his little guy v. big guy match against Mecha Mercenary, the Aric Andrews match built around body part selling, his almost Tenryuish performances against Sharpe and in the Battle Royal. Seems like a guy who is doing a wide variety of things very waiell.

 

He's had PWG matches against Keith Lee and Janela that I liked. But his case relies heavily on CWF, where, as you say, he's tremendous. 



#19 Quentin Skinner

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Posted 17 December 2017 - 12:37 PM

Zack Sabre Jr for me. I think variety in opponents, variety in settings and volume are undeniable and hard to argue anyone above him in these areas, but I think he's taken a big step forward in his individual performances this year. Going heel almost everywhere and working more as a tweener figure when he's not a full fledged heel has led to increased nastiness and great vicious control segments which I eat up. Also cuts down what a lot of people view as his weakest area and that's selling.Was able to go between working legends, top flight current names and "lesser" talents without skipping a beat, often times raising the stock of a guy lower in status like a Jaka. I think something I adore about the guy is other than David Starr, I don't think anyone else visibly makes wins and losses look important to them in the aftermath of a match. Whether it be throwing temper tantrums after losing to Gabriel Kidd, Chris Brookes, or Negro Navarro or punching the air and yelling in celebration in victory, he makes it clear he cares about the result of a match. He was close last year but now I think he's found the perfect balance between the cutesy WOS stuff, legit amateur and BJJ transitions and holds, tough guy/macho spots and a Danielson-esque arrogance and mean streak.

 

While Zack is my number 1, it's pretty fitting WALTER climbed his way to number 2 in the last week. He was at 4 on my top 50 WOTY podcast but since then he's added on 6 more matches I've seen that I've given 4* or more, and evenly split between tags and singles. Best tag worker of the year by a mile, MVP of one of the best Carat tournaments ever, plenty of work to choose from as a face and a heel, arguably feud of the year with David Starr. While he has a ton of great matches to choose from and quite honestly zero bad matches I've seen this year, his case really is strengthened by how easily he went from this menacing, dominant, big bad brother of Axel Dieter Jr to the fiery babyface hot tag guy with Thatcher. That's an incredible skill to boast.



#20 C.S.

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Posted 17 December 2017 - 03:30 PM

Dark horse mentions for BRAUN and Johnny Gargano. Braun, for one, while not having a strong enough case for WOTY certainly has the strongest case for Most Improved of the Year. From a footnote in a stable to one of the hottest acts of the year, completely shattering the "workrate" era image.

Gargano has turned into probably the absolute best babyface on NXT and has retained all his heat despite being on the losing end of most of his feuds.

 

You picked the same two I was going to make a case for - along with Roman Reigns and AJ Styles.

 

I'm honestly surprised at all the love for Zack Sabre Jr. I thought he was the shits in the CWC but I confess that I haven't followed his work since then. Perhaps that was simply not the right platform for him?






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