The famous Japanese newspaper Tokyo Sports has held the awards ceremony for the best of pro-wrestling in Japan during the year 2019. To do this, several of the magazine’s critics voted for a series of nominees based on their performance throughout the year, the success they have had and the development under their character, among other factors. This has been the 46th edition of the awards and took place on Thursday, January 16, 2020, from the Grand Prince Hotel Takanawa in Shinagawa, Tokyo.
The winners and some legends of pro-wrestling such as Kenta Kobashi or Genichiro Tenryu attended the gala. There was also the presence of the idol Jurina Matsui. The companies representing the winners made an appearance. It should be remembered that the winners of the prizes were the following:
Best Wrestler/MVP: Kazuchika Okada (NJPW)
Best Female Wrestler: Mayu Iwatani (STARDOM)
Best match: Kazuchika Okada vs. SANADA, in King of Pro Wrestling 2019 (NJPW)
Best tag team: Violent Giants (Shuji Ishikawa and Suwama) (AJPW) (Third consecutive year)
Best technique/skill: Kota Ibushi (NJPW)
Fighting Spirit: Kaito Kiyomiya (NOAH) (Second consecutive year)
Best overall performance award: Kento Miyahara (AJPW)
The debut of the year: Strong Machine J (Dragon Gate)
The prize for his professional career: Atsushi Aoki (AJPW)
Special mention to the medalists of the Greco-Roman Wrestling World Championships in Kazakhstan 2019: Risako Kawai (57 kilos category), Kenichiro Fumita (60 kilos category) and Shinobu Ota (63 kilos category)
All the winners received their trophies and made speeches for the public:
Jun Akiyama and Kasumi Obata, wife of Atsushi Aoki, collected the prize given posthumously to the wrestler. Akiyama took the floor, noting that Aoki was the best worker in All Japan and highlighted the number of things he did for the company. Collecting the prize in memory of his apprentice has been one of his last duties as president of All Japan, indicating that he will return to work as a fighter to do what he can to help the wrestlers. Akiyama commented that Aoki was a pro-wrestling fan since childhood.
Strong Machine J was introduced remembering that he was the son of Super Strong Machine, a star from NJPW and that he debuted last April 2019. Since then he has had the opportunity to have great meetings at Dragon Gate, winning the Open the Championships Triangle Gate He thanks NJPW for allowing him to fight with the same mask design as his father. As for Dragon Gate, it will strive to do more things and keep the company moving forward.
Mayu Iwatani thanked the support of STARDOM President Rossy Ogawa, who has never stopped believing in her. The World of STARDOM Champion recalled that it was her second time attending the awards ceremony, having previously accompanied Io Shirai. She felt it was a remote place for her, but she has finally received the award.
The fighter made a request for Tokyo Sports, she wants women to also aspire to win prizes such as Best Tag Team or Best Combat. He recalled that there are many female wrestlers and companies that are doing great things and do not like the perception that women are considered as something less than what men do.
Kota Ibushi received his prize, mentioning that he did not understand very well what was valued to give him the trophy since he did not remember having demonstrated his ability during 2019. He also indicated that he will try to become the MVP of 2020, working both individual ways as in the tag team.
Kaito Kiyomiya commented that he managed to bring light to a stage of darkness for NOAH. This is his year (according to his zodiac sign) and he will continue to strive while NOAH continues to look for the way to return to the Nippon Budoukan. He adds that his personal goal is to bring NOAH back to Tokyo Dome.
Kento Miyahara started remembering that he has started the year as Triple Crown Champion and will seek to break the title defense record. He wants to continue being the symbol of All Japan and continue rewriting the history of his company. Miyahara had words for the president of Tokyo Sports, Osamu Sakai, telling him that he wanted to see him more at AJPW events, which caused the audience to laugh. Miyahara said goodbye indicating that the history of Japanese pro-wrestling will continue to advance this year.
Suwama and Shuji Ishikawa took the stage. Suwama was delighted to win the trophy for the third consecutive year and called Osamu Sakai to come up with them. Suwama joked with the president of Tokyo Sports. For its part, Ishikawa added that Violent Giants will continue to show their unlimited potential in 2020.
SANADA mentioned that the fact that his match was chosen as the best of the year gives him the confidence to continue and continue to evolve.
Kazuchika Okada celebrated remembering that he has been re-elected MVP, won the Heavyweight Championship and got married in 2019, so he had a great year. As for 2020, it is the year of the Olympic Games in Tokyo and he wants the spirit to spread pro-wrestling so that they continue moving forward. He wants to make 2020 the year of pro-wrestling and that is why he proposes a great event with several companies from Japan, demonstrating Japan’s talent with all its best available wrestlers.