The famous newspaper japon.es Tokyo Sports has held the awards ceremony for the best of pro-wrestling in Japan during the year 2017. For this, several of the critics of the magazine voted a series of nominees in function of their performance throughout the year, the success they have had and the development under their character, among other factors. This was the 44th edition of the awards and took place on Thursday, January 18, 2018, from the Grand Prince Hotel Takanawa in Shinagawa, Tokyo.
For the gala attended both the winners and some legends of pro-wrestling as Kenta Kobashi. There were also surprise appearances such as Andre the Giant Panda by New Neruma Pro-Wrestling and Big Japan Pro-Wrestling, brightening the day. There were also representatives of the different companies that were awarded. The winners of the prizes were the following:
– Best fighter: Tetsuya Naito – New Japan Pro-Wrestling – 2nd occasion
– Best fight: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Kenny Omega for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship – Wrestle Kingdom 11
– Best fighter: Io Shirai – STARDOM – 3rd occasion
– Best team: Violent Giants (Shuji Ishikawa and Suwama) – All Japan Pro-Wrestling -1st time
– Best technique/skill: Hideki Suzuki – Big Japan Pro-Wrestling / ZERO 1
– Fighting spirit: Katsuyori Shibata – New Japan Pro-Wrestling – 1st occasion
– Best overall performance/charisma: YAMATO – Dragon Gate – 1st occasion
– Debutante of the year: Yuma Aoyagi – All Japan Pro-Wrestling
– Special recognition: Jurina Matsui, singer of AKB48 and member of TV program Asahi de Tofu Pro-Wrestling
All the winners received their trophies and were able to speak for the public. Kenny Omega participated in the ceremony after being absent during the past year. The ceremony left curious images, like Omega meeting with old friends like Shuji Ishikawa, the presence of Katsuyori Shibata after last year’s accident or the appearances of Andre the Giant Panda with Ishikawa and Suwama.
Tetsuya Naito, the winner for the second year in a row of the best fighter of the year, also gave a speech after the trophy was handed out. After making the delivery of the prize, Naito threatened to throw it to the public, trying to replicate the launches of championships he has made. In statements collected by Tokyo Sports, Naito commented the following:
“The popularity of Tetsuya Naito and The Ungovernables of Japan has been a success, but the moment quickly disappears, I heard it before, but I am the fifth person in history to win the MVP for the second year in a row.” Tetsuya Naito is bigger than the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, I think I’ve shown you that this statement is not exaggerated.
I think it is important to take the first step without fearing the risks of changing something, I would like to instill value to everyone so that they continue to do the same in the world of pro-wrestling. “