As someone who remembers when watching this stuff was taboo, this line will always seem crazy to me, but ESPN announces it’s 2023 pro wrestling awards.
Because, you know, the year is winding down, and it’s what reputable sites do around now.
Don’t worry, we have our own coming too!
But if you see ESPN as a still reliable source…let’s take a look at who earned their awards for the year.
ESPN Announces 2023 Pro Wrestling Awards
On the women’s side, WWE Superstar Rhea Ripley took home the top award. Hard to argue with that one, given the year that she has had.
Runners up included IYO SKY and Giulia, both solid options, but just not on Ripley’s level.
For the men, it was fellow WWE Superstar Cody Rhodes taking the honor. Also hard to argue given all that he accomplished, but there were certainly worthy options.
Hard to argue that one as well. There were just a lot of strong candidates on the men’s side of things.
AEW was not shut out, of course. In the top tag team category, FTR claimed the win over Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.
I’d probably have made a compelling argument for Owens and Zayn, given what they did and when they did it, but with FTR as true tag specialists, I don’t mind them winning.
We could probably have some disagreement over their choice for debut of the year. ESPN gave that one to CM Punk showing up at the end of Survivor Series.
CM Punk Returns To A WWE Ring In MSG
Had they changed it to “surprise of the year” or “debut/return”, maybe. To me (and others) debut is someone brand new to the sport, company or level of competition.
Breakout talent went to LA Knight, and his rise made this an easy one…though I would have also strongly considered Logan Paul, considering he won the United States Championship.
MJF won a second award, for promo of the year. Kenny Omega and Will Ospreay ensured AEW also took home match of the year honors, with their two battles sharing 1st place.
Two awards wrapped things up-event of the year and story line of the year. Both went to WWE.
Event of the year in 2023 was WrestleMania 39, with the Bloodline story taking home the story line of the year.
Hard to argue with those, though I imagine AEW All In from Wembley garnered serious consideration too.
One thing is clear as we take in all of the various accolades…2023 was a really stellar year for pro wrestling, and 2024 looks to be even better!