Pro Wrestling 2022 awards: The Bloodline, MJF and Logan Paul among winners

This may be the best time to become a professional wrestling fan. With a plethora of options on TV and live streaming, enthusiasts should have no problem finding what they love and sticking with it – or wasting every minute of the action they can.

This year, news outside the ring overshadowed the exceptional work between the ropes.

In June, WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon, the face and patriarch of the wrestling industry for more than three decades, resigned amid an investigation into alleged misconduct. It came four months after the 77-year-old McMahon competed in his last match against color commentator and hugely popular sports podcast host Pat McAfee at WrestleMania 38. After that match, McMahon faced old “Stone Cold” rival Steve Austin, who gave him the last Stunner for old times sake.

After McMahon’s departure, the trio of Paul “Triple H” Levesque, Stephanie McMahon (Vince’s daughter) and Nick Hahn took over the reins of the company. Triple H, former WWE Champion and Stephanie’s husband, has creatively tweaked the ship since McMahon’s departure, and the WWE business remains relatively strong.

Not to be outdone, AEW also had drama in its third full year of existence. Just a year after his return from a seven-year layoff, CM Punk reportedly got into a physical altercation with top wrestlers and executive vice presidents Kenny Omega, Matt and Nick Jackson, and the Young Bucks after the All Out pay-per-view. card in September. Punk, who had been injured earlier in the night during the match, waived the AEW Championship and has not been seen onscreen since. Omega and the Young Bucks are back after reporting a suspension last month.

Meanwhile, WWE continues the incredible reign of Roman Reigns as the undisputed WWE Universal Heavyweight Champion, with Sami Zane and Solo Sikoa joining Bloodline’s lofty storyline with The Usos. Reigns’ former Shield teammate Jon Moxley bailed out AEW several times due to Punk’s injuries, only months after returning from alcohol rehab, becoming the promotion’s most valuable wrestler and dressing room leader.

Mark Raimondi, Mike Coppinger, Greg Wiszynski and Brandon Caldwell take a look at pro wrestling’s top athletes in a possible 2022 campaign.

Female Wrestler of the Year: Bianca Belair – 89%

It’s been an incredible evolution for Belair, going from a great athlete in development to a promising woman who lost her title in seconds at SummerSlam 2021 to a cornerstone of the WWE women’s roster. Now this label can be raised even more. Belair was arguably the best performer in the world in 2022 and the competition was fierce.

It’s not just about her long reign as WWE Raw Women’s Champion. Belair took on all the challengers and overcame them like she was back on the track at the University of Tennessee. Her match against Becky Lynch was one of the highlights of WrestleMania 38 and they followed it up in a SummerSlam rematch. Later that year, Belair and Bayley thwarted him in a ladder match at Extreme Rules and a great Last Woman Standing match at Crown Jewel.

Belair is no longer a promising player. She is a complete superstar. — Raimondi

Male wrestler of the year? Roman Reigns – 67%

Reigns is not only the biggest star in professional wrestling, but also a historical champion. The “head of the table” held the WWE Universal Championship for over two years, a title he should retain at WrestleMania 39 when he can face The Rock in the main event.

It is not merely the chosen one who reigns; he has earned his place as the best male wrestler in the world thanks to his fresh personality, powerful wrestling style and vastly improved promo skills that are at the heart of the organization’s major storylines.

His 2022 campaign was supported by Sami Zayn, who brought a dose of creativity to The Bloodline, thus keeping Reigns and the faction from becoming obsolete. At 37 years old, Reigns turned into everything Vince McMahon could have hoped for when he was named WWE’s top star 10 years ago. Raines will go down in history as one of the greatest needle makers of all time, and his work in the 22nd is the main reason for that. — Coppinger

Team of the Year Tag: The Usos – 50%

2022 has been a big year for tag teams around the world, but no team has been more titled than The Usos. For years, Jimmy and Jay Uso have claimed to be part of the pantheon of great WWE tag teams. In 2022, they jumped the highest to secure their status as the best. Despite having FTR hot on their heels, winning titles in several promotions and feuding with The Briscoes, The Usos were undeniable.

Outshining Demolition and their rivals, The New Day, for the longest reign as tag team champions in company history is one thing. Another was the regular improvement in their game, not only as a tag team, but as an intricate part of wrestling’s best storyline. From their instant classic with The Street Profits at Money In The Bank to their dramatic triumph over The New Day in November, The Usos have made sure their twelfth year on the main roster has surpassed any other tag team, and they’re aiming for even more in 2023. . — Caldwell

Rookie Wrestler of the Year: Logan Paul – 39%

You can admit that you were skeptical about Logan Paul. Who among us hasn’t thought that the 27-year-old product of the creator economy, best known for controversial YouTube stunts and showy boxing matches, has signed a multi-year contract with WWE? While celebrities are usually asked to learn a few moves and defend themselves in tag matches, Paul was instead invited to take on The Miz at SummerSlam and then undisputed champion Roman Reigns in the main event of November’s Crown Jewel. It’s a lot.

That skepticism quickly dissipated when we saw what Logan Paul could do in the ring and the athleticism he displayed in those matches – like those splashes across the tables, first at The Miz and then at Reigns, that Paul filmed in real time mode. , to viral recognition. Shane “The Hurricane” Helms, his WWE trainer, praised Paul’s ability to learn the trade and his humility.

Now, if only WWE had done the right thing and pulled the trigger during Logan Paul’s run… — Vyshinsky

Breakthrough Wrestler of the Year: Ricky Starks – 28%

The choice of the biggest breakout star in 2022 is “Absolute”. After a broken neck halted his progress in 2021, the 32-year-old Starks returned to prominence as an FTW Champion and member of AEW Team Taz earlier this year. He has always been a solid member of the heel faction, including a great triple threat match against Powerhouse Hobbs at Double of Nothing in May. However, he started making magic when he turned into a babyface over the summer with an inspirational promo.

The always carefully dressed Starks beat the backsliding Hobbs in an unsanctioned Grand Slam match. The New Orleans native then won the annual AEW Championship Qualifier and the Dynamite Diamond Ring battle royal to set up a title match against the new MJF champion. Leading up to that showdown earlier this month, Starks and MJF engaged in one of the best promo battles of the year, in which the brash yet lovable Starks arguably got the better of MJF, the best promo guy in the business. — Raimondi

Promo Artist of the Year: MJF – 72%

When talking about the best promo guy in the business, it’s not always what Maxwell Jacob Friedman says, it’s an anticipation of what he might have to say. Will he call his boss a “mark” and beg to be fired? Will he openly brag about leaving the competition when his contract ends? Will he pit professional wrestling fans against UFC fans? Will he discuss a childhood photo of himself and an opponent to make it part of their storyline? Will he insult the fans or say something to earn their adoration and then make fun of them again?

MJF did all this and more in 2022 by winning the AEW World Championship for the first time. His commercials weren’t instant classics – we could get by without him trolling fans about running WWE in 2024 as it’s the cheapest heat right now – but they were always entertaining. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that the villain in the Burberry scarf is only 26 years old when you see him match word for word with a promo artist like William Regal. Again, that’s why he’s an MJF. He is better than you. And you know it. — Vyshinsky

Match of the Year: Seamus vs. Gunther, Castle Battle – 33%

A brutal, tense matchup – especially by WWE standards – Gunther’s win over Sheamus in September restored some much-needed prestige to the oft-ignored Intercontinental Championship.

There were many contenders for this award, but this fight stood out from the rest for its physical strength and strikes between two of the toughest workers in wrestling. Adding to the action was an incredible atmosphere, with over 60,000 people filling the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, to cheer for Irishman Seamus, who aspired to be a Grand Slam champion.

For over 20+ minutes, Gunther and Sheamus punished each other with a series of open-handed slaps and sharp punches in a fight that took them to the ring apron, announcer’s table and the crowd.

NXT has staged such violent matches on numerous occasions, but this is a rarity in the WWE main roster. Perhaps this was a harbinger of what was to come in the age of Triple H. — Coppinger

Best PPV Event of the Year: AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door – 28%

Source: www.espn.com

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