It took a couple of months to finally get the votes tallied, but the Wrestler of the Year award from Dave Meltzer’s respected Wrestling Observer has finally been announced.
This year’s winner? Former WWE champion A.J. Styles, who won the award for the second consecutive year. Styles debuted in WWE in 2016, marking the first time Styles had a major run with the promotion in his nearly 20 year career. Styles was instantly a hit with WWE, putting on fantastic matches night-in and night-out with the likes of John Cena, Dean Ambrose, Chris Jericho, and Roman Reigns. Styles eventually won the WWE Championship in September, holding the belt until this year’s Royal Rumble event.
Styles won the award over New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) Kazuchika Okada, who is currently the IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Styles’ win came mainly thanks to first-place votes, as Styles tallied 462 first-place votes to Okada’s 285.
Previous winners of the Wrestling Observer award include Ric Flair (an eight-time winner), Stone Cold Steve Austin, John Cena, and Chris Jericho, among others. For the full list of yearly award, you can view the latest subscription of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (subscription required) here.