Last week we saw some of the candidates in the match of the year award, but now we are going to discuss the wrestler of the year award, both male and female. 2022 was very open year for both awards, but slowly the obvious candidates were getting decided.
As mentioned on last week’s piece related to the best matches of 2022, Will Ospreay had the most candidates for match of the year, plus countless amazing matches all year. NJPW might have had an irregular year in terms of booking, but Will Ospreay’s work was one of the biggest highlights NJPW had all year. Ospreay is currently the favorite to win the wrestler of the year award, but there are other candidates for his throne.
Jon Moxley carried AEW when the promotion needed him the most, and that type of work can’t be ignored, especially when the man refused to go for his vacations when the promotion was on a weak spot due to multiple injuries across the roster, and later on the year when the Punk-Elite situation took place. Putting over MJF was also a pretty good thing he did as the ace of AEW in 2022.
A third candidate is the dark horse Dax Harwood. Dax Harwood short singles run and his FTR run have been met with acclaim and championships to his name. While Harwood is the dark horse in this category, FTR are major favorites for the tag team of the year award.
Hijo del Vikingo and Josh Alexander are names that shouldn’t be ignored on this category, and had a very good year considering it all.
The women’s side is a very open case with almost all the nominees and favorites having strong cases on their own. Jamie Hayter and Toni Storm had a fantastic 2022 in AEW and their runs really helped the always criticized AEW women’s division make the jump to the next level. While we talk about AEW, we can’t ignore Jade Cargill’s run as TBS champion and undefeated; Cargill’s progression has been fantastic and has grown a lot as a wrestler in terms of promo and even in-ring work.
When talking about women’s wrestling, we can’t omite STARDOM; since they are the biggest women’s promotion in the world. The usual suspects of Giulia, Syuri and Utami Hayashishita had very good years overall and are strong candidates for the award Tam Nakano and Saya Kamitani are also names that should be in the discussion.
Bianca Belair for WWE had a very good year and deserves a mentioned as a candidate for wrestler of the year for carrying women’s wrestling for WWE all year.