BEST MATCH OF 2019: Dustin vs Cody (AEW Double or Nothing) *****
It is very, very, very rare that I give out five stars to a match. I save this rating only for things in wrestling I sincerely consider to be perfect, and I sincerely consider this one perfect. This was poetry disguised as a wrestling match!
-Gargano/Cole 04/05 (nxt) ****3/4
-Okada/Ospreay 07/20 (njpw) ****3/4
-Okada/SANADA 08/03 (njpw) ****3/4
-Ishii/SHINGO 08/08 (njpw) ****3/4
-Devlin/Starr 10/26 (ott) ****3/4
BEST MALE WRESTLER OF 2019: Will Ospreay
Ospreay was put in a unique position this year, working his ass off not only as the face of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight division, but also stepping up big into the big boy playground. He's well rounded and capable of working well with anyone he's faced off against. Honestly, no one came close to Ospreay in this field!
Honorable Mention: Fenix
Wow, STARDOM stuck a rocket to Hoshiki this year and it paid off. In her first title reign ever, Arisa has already proven herself to be one of the best workers in the world and she is only getting better with each defense.
Honorable Mention: DASH Chisako
Pentagon is one of the most charismatic brawlers in the game. Fenix is one of the best workers in the world and one of the most innovative flyers of all time. Together, these brothers have made themselves the top tag team in the world, working in nearly every major and minor promotion in the world in 2019. They show very little signs of slowing down in 2020.
Honorable Mention: Young Bucks
Many might complain about how the Elite are booked in AEW (many love to complain about everything in general, too) but they've been building stars and are pumping out high-quality matches basically every time they team up. Now that they've helped elevate the roster around them a bit, expect a heavy push as 2020 begins.
Honorable Mention: Strong Hearts
This wasn't even close. No company in wrestling consistently puts out the amount of high quality matches and angles that New Japan does, thanks largely to housing the best roster in the world. NJPW are the kings and we are their servants.
Honorable Mention: AEW
These are the best workers and promotions of American, Mexican, Japanese, and European nationalities, once again utilizing a system that relies on my recommendations.
BEST AMERICAN WRESTLER OF 2019: David Starr
The man of a million nicknames has quietly had one of his best years in 2019, working major, memorable matches against some of the best names in the world in dramatic contests. He was the final Defiant Champion, won the OTT World Title, and also held gold in RevPro, CZW, and IPW: UK this year.
Honorable Mention: Johnny Gargano
BEST AMERICAN PROMOTION OF 2019: AEW
All Elite Wrestling has done something that no other promotion in America has been able to do, and provided a strong #2 to WWE for the first time since WCW was closed. Dynamite is doing rather well and looking to expand, and their content has been wildly entertaining more often than not.
Honorable Mention: WWE NXT
BEST MEXICAN WRESTLER OF 2019: Fenix
Fenix is one of the best flyers of all time and is so talented that he (and his brother) worked for nearly every major (and minor) fed in the world this year, picking up a solid amount of gold along the way. There were a lot of great talents from Mexico killing it this year, but none as much as Fenix.
Honorable Mention: Pentagon
BEST MEXICAN PROMOTION OF 2019: AAA
AAA has been the best it's been in years since Konnan returned last year and behind a solid roster, decent booking, and several enjoyable shows, they're the clear choice for this one. I strongly suggest checking out their Worldwide series on YouTube to fans seeking to branch out into lucha libre.
Honorable Mention: CMLL
BEST JAPANESE WRESTLER OF 2019: Kazuchika Okada
The ace of New Japan has had another killer year. He's so talented that we've come to just expect brilliance every outing and anything slightly less is considered a disappointment. That's the mark of true greatness.
Honorable Mention: Kota Ibushi
BEST JAPANESE PROMOTION OF 2019: NJPW
I mean, their the best promotion in the world, so this was a given. Though Dragon Gate, NOAH, AJPW, and DDT were all top ten promotion quality this year, with STARDOM also being in consideration, none of them came close to topping the true kings.
Honorable Mention: Pro Wrestling NOAH
BEST EUROPEAN WRESTLER OF 2019: Will Ospreay
Ospreay was the best wrestler in the world this year and more than deserved this nod. Hopefully, a NEVER Openweight run is in his sights after dropping the Junior strap at the Dome.
Honorable Mention: Zack Sabre Jr
BEST EUROPEAN PROMOTION OF 2019: wXw
wXw has managed thus far to avoid the dip in quality that most WWE partners are dealing with while continuing to put out high quality content. Their use of talents alone make them the best in Europe, but the rabid fans and the ability to bring out the best in those workers helped ensure they won this one.
Honorable Mention: PROGRESS
BEST CANADIAN WRESTLER OF 2019: Kenny Omega
Kenny hasn't been booked overly strong in AEW, but he's still placed near the top and has still been showing glimmers of his GOAT-level talents as well as was part of one of NJPW's best matches of the year. I consider Kenny the best active wrestler in the world and look forward to him showing new people that next year.
Honorable Mention: Michael Elgin
BEST CANADIAN PROMOTION OF 2019: SMASH Wrestling
I didn't watch as much content from Canada this year as I maybe should have, but SMASH was again my main source when I did and was typically entertaining each time. Their weekly program is worth a look if you're seeking something new.
Honorable Mention: ECCW
BEST WRESTLING PROGRAM OF 2019: Dragon Gate Cutting Edge Battle
While Dynamite has been a fun ride, Dragon Gate's half-hour series has been the most consistent viewing experience in the pack. It's very simple, yet when the content is coming from a company that's been so entertaining this year it's hard to screw up. Make sure you're watching this one!
Honorable Mention: AEW Dynamite
BEST COMMENTATOR OF 2019: Lenny Leonard
There are a lot of good commentators right now, but Lenny remains the best. His work for WWN brands and Dragon Gate were simply fantastic this year and, while this was a hard award to decide, I just had to give him the nod.
Honorable Mention: Excalibur
BEST BOOKED PROMOTION OF 2019: Dragon Gate
This was perhaps the hardest of all the personal option awards, but Dragon Gate's booking choices this year were rarely questionable while also being so entertaining that I continued to be thrilled and even surprised at nearly every major move they made this year. I haven't been this happy with the company since the days I called them my favorite fed in the world.
Honorable Mention: NJPW
MVP OF 2019: Chris Jericho (AEW)
AEW is trying to grow their brand and Jericho has been the pillar they're doing it around. He's the face of the company, has shown that he can always expand his character simply because he's been doing this for so long, and has been their most consistent figure in helping their ratings. He'll drop the title eventually, but don't discredit this run!
Honorable Mention: Kento Miyahara (AJPW)
BEST SPECIAL EVENT OF 2019: WWE NXT TakeOver: New York
Thanks to WWE's choice to no longer add TakeOver events to Hulu, I decided a few months ago to officially pull the plug on all WWE related content. That said, let's consider TakeOver: New York a swan song of sorts by giving the event the praise it deserves. This was one of the best shows top to bottom I've ever seen and only Double or Nothing (which was amazing, too) came close to topping it in 2019.
Honorable Mention: AEW Double or Nothing