AJ Styles has been on top of the world for a long time, but only since coming to WWE in January 2016 has the entire planet known it. The veteran wrestler instantly made a mark in the biggest pro wrestling company on the planet, after 18 years of traveling the globe and working for various promotions, notably Total Nonstop Action, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and Ring of Honor.
Now, for the second year in a row, AJ Styles has been named the best wrestler of the year, covering the period between December 2015 and the end of November 2016, by readers of the Wrestling Observer(via Reddit). The honor comes after a year in which Styles frequently had the best match of whichever show he was on, putting on excellent bouts almost every night with the likes of John Cena, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns. He even got into a storyline with a jobber, James Ellsworth, that proved a mighty entertaining program on SmackDown Live for several weeks.
WWE rewarded AJ Styles for his effort and impact with a run with the WWE Championship. Moreover, now he’s taking home more honors with both the best wrestler and most outstanding wrestler awards from the Wrestling Observer readership.
— McGregor Army (@McGregorArmy) March 1, 2017
Styles also finished as runner-up in the feud of the year category thanks to his storyline with John Cena. The UFC’s Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz won that award. McGregor also snagged the trophies for best box office draw (WWE star Brock Lesnar was runner-up), best on interviews (The Miz), and most charismatic (Shinsuke Nakamura).
New Japan Pro Wrestling had a good showing again this year in the Wrestling Observer awards. It was named promotion of the year and won best weekly TV show for New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS.
— WrestlingFight (@WrestlingFight2) February 21, 2017
Kazuchika Okada was runner-up for wrestler of the year, and Kenny Omega finished second in voting for most outstanding wrestler. Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi won match of the year for their Wrestle Kingdom 9 encounter, with Omega and Tetsuya Naito claiming second place. Meanwhile, Omega won the best wrestling move award for his One Winged Angel. Tomohiro Ishii was named best brawler, with Katsuyori Shibata as runner-up.
WWE won a pair of contrasting prizes for most overrated/overpushed wrestler — Roman Reigns — and most underrated/underpushed for Cesaro, a multi-time winner of that award. WrestleMania 32 was voted worst major show and WWE Raw was named worst TV show. Titus O’Neil vs. Darren Young took away worst feud of the year, though WWE won best DVD/Network special for Seth Rollins: Redesign, Rebuild, Reclaim.
cesaro (underrated x100) pic.twitter.com/d4MWRyxxOv
— sailor jess (@aprilsdaisy) December 17, 2016
Elsewhere, Wrestling Observer readers voted the Young Bucks team of the year with more than a thousand more votes than The Revival, who had a stellar year in NXT. Matt Riddle won both rookie of the year and most improved wrestler. Zack Sabre Jr is again the best technical wrestler in the eyes of voters, while Will Ospreay was revealed as the best flying wrestler.
Dario Cueto of Lucha Underground was named best non-wrestler for the second year running. WWE SmackDown Live‘s Mauro Ranallo and David Otunga are best TV announcer and worst TV announcer respectively.
— #BROKEN Matt Hardy (@MATTHARDYBRAND) March 1, 2017
Elsewhere, voters thought Kimbo Slice vs. Dada 5000 was the most disgusting promotional tactic, Shelly Martinez vs. Rebel was worst match of the year, TNA was worst promotion, New Japan’s Gedo was best booker and UFC’s Dana White was best promoter. Matt Hardy took home best gimmick for his “Broken” character, which he is likely to continue using after leaving TNA this week. Bone Soldier of New Japan won worst gimmick. Lastly, Ali vs. Inoki won best book.
The signs are clear though that 2016 was the year of AJ Styles, though a case can be made for Kenny Omega as well. Styles truly confirmed that he is phenomonal with an outstanding first year in WWE. It’s not clear where he’ll go from here, especially since many see his expected WrestleMania 33 match with Shane McMahon as a step down, but whatever WWE gives him, there’s no question that AJ Styles will show he is a force to be reckoned with.
[Featured Image by WWE]