2017 Wrestler of the Year

Another year in professional wrestling has come and gone. As we look forward to the squared circle magic we will see in the New Year, 2017 saw many wrestlers put on great matches.

New Japan Pro Wrestling delivered the goods in spades while WWE churned out some fun moments. ROH and the Independent scene are on fire like never before as a new era of wrestling is coming around.

All lists of this nature are subjective. My rankings don’t mean any more or less than anyone else’s rankings. These are my picks for the top five wrestlers of the year.

Wrestler of the Year

1. Kenny Omega: No wrestler was involved in high profile matches that exceeded their enormous hype more than Omega. Matches with Ishii, Okada, Naito and others were all classic outings from the Winnipeg native. If Omega wasn’t wrestler of the year in 2016, there is no doubt about his top rank in 2017.

2. Tetsuya Naito: The leader of Los Ingobernables took New Japan Pro Wrestling by storm in 2017 and is arguably the best wrestler in the world. Encounters with Tanahashi along with his amazing G-1 Finals showdown against Omega put an exclamation mark on a stellar year.

3. Kazuchika Okada: It is really a surprise that the longest reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion is on this list. Okada doesn’t seem to get enough credit for his part in the thrilling trilogy against Omega. Okada produced a lot of drama out of his big matches and will no doubt do the same going into the new year.

4. AJ Styles: “The Phenomenal One” entered 2017 the same way he left 2017, as the WWE Champion. His match against John Cena at the Royal Rumble is a sure fire match of the year candidate, he arguably had the best match at WrestleMania against Shane McMahon of all people and had a great feud with Kevin Owens.

If that’s not enough, he carried WWE’s big creative investment, Jinder Mahal to his best matches and put on an amazing match against Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series that looked more like a fight than the dance that a lot of wrestling bouts resemble these days.

5. Cody: Cody “Don’t Call Me Rhodes”, has shattered the notion that you need to be in WWE in order to be a star in the wrestling industry. “The American Nightmare” has a beacon of self promotion while making the Bullet Club even more popular than they already are.

Cody also took the world-wide independent wrestling scene by storm by putting on a consistent output of entertaining matches. The highlight of 2017 took place in Lowell, MA when he defeated Christopher Daniels to capture the ROH World Championship.

  • Here are a few more top five lists from various people I’ve worked with on the independent scene and in the wrestling media.


Derek Simonetti– Independent Wrestler, Bay State Champion of ElkMania Promotions and owner of the Proving Ground

  1. Kenny Omega

  2. Cody

  3. Asuka

  4. AJ Styles

  5. Jeff Cobb/Keith Lee


Frank Dee – Host of The Raw Deal Podcast and contributor to gerweck.net

  1. Kenny Omega

  2. AJ Styles

  3. Roman Reigns

  4. Samoa Joe

  5. Cody


Adam Kohn: Co-host of the SmackDown Breakdown podcast and Fantasy Football expert.

  1. Kazuchika Okada

  2. Kenny Omega

  3. AJ Styles

  4. Tetsuya Naito

  5. Kevin Owens


Chris Lappin: Host of the Broken but Glorious podcast in the United Kingdom.

  1. Braun Strowman

  2. AJ Styles

  3. Kazuchika Okada

  4. Kenny Omega

  5. Pete Dunne


Ryan Andrews: Pro Wrestling ring announcer and director of ElkMania Promotions.

  1. The Miz

  2. The Usos

  3. Cody

  4. Tetsuya Naito

  5. Alexa Bliss

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