So Hiroshi Tanahashi beat out CM Punk for Wrestler of the Year again.
It’s a great choice as Tanahashi carried New Japan on his back for the full year. He had some great opponents and a shitload of world class main event matches.
Punk was hampered by not being the proper top guy in WWE. He’s been champion for the award duration but he hasn’t been the main event for the majority of the time. He has been booked second fiddle to John Cena’s storylines all year. He’s definitely worthy of being THE top guy but WWE would be gambling on a ton of merchandise and toy sales down the line.
Kazuchika Okada coming in third was out of left field for most Western fans. After his comedy run in TNA as Okato, he returned to New Japan with a new main event playboy persona. His first appearance on January 4 didn’t light the world on fire so it was surprising that he won the IWGP Title from Tanashashi the next month. His awesome work as champion solidified Tanahashi as the top money draw in NJ when he dropped the title in June.
Cena’s fourth place finish was a surprise as he was WWE’s leading draw and ratings mover this year. His interviews have ranged from good to appalling as his character never gets upset for an extended period of time.
Daniel Bryan coming fifth was also a surprise. He has not received the preferential booking treatment that Cena and Punk have but has gotten over anyway. His loss at Wrestlemania catapulted him in to the stratosphere. The YES chants which were gaining in popularity anyway became statements of anger after Bryan was beaten so quickly by Sheamus. It’s a testament to his talent in the ring and his strong work in vignettes with Kane that he has done so well.