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Most Outstanding

Posted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:25 pm
by DylanWaco
I assume Okada and Omega will be the front runners for most people here and will likely win one and two in the voting. I'm not nearly that high on them, but I don't want to tear anyone down. That said I am interested in who else people see as contenders for this, even if it's just for the third spot.

I'll add thoughts later but right now I've got Yehi, Riddle, WALTER, Pete Dunne, Keith Lee, Braun as contenders off the top of my head. I know some people really rate Sabre this year, and while I am a fan, I just don't connect with his performances on a level where I'd feel comfortable giving him a vote in this category.

Re: Most Outstanding

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:56 am
by armsofsleep
Barring a big late push, I'll probably have Takahashi at the top of the NJPW pile in my voting. His booking hurt his chances at being my clear lock for number one, but I still think that he has a good mix of high end title feud stuff, lots of good to great singles matches, and he's the highlight of every tag he's in (the most underappreciated part of any NJPW resume).

Besides him my list is still tough to shake out. A lot of the usual suspects from last year (Miyahara, Ishikawa, Yehi, Riddle, Sabre) mixed in with guys who got more opportunities to shine (Dunne, Bate, Banks, Dijak, Takeshita, Joey Janela) and a few dark horse candidates I love (Asuka, AR Fox, Hideki Suzuki, every luchador no one else will vote for, Gresham, etc).

Interestingly enough, I would listen to a Naito/Okada/Omega argument for number one, but I have no idea who I would pick. All of them have been a part of a ***** match by my ratings, but I generally haven't liked a lot of their other stuff.

Re: Most Outstanding

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:53 am
by ceftaxias
I think if you're a fan of the style it's hard not to see Timothy Thatcher as an all timer in the making. I was late to the party with him and only this year have gone out of my way to see everything of his that makes tape and he's been incredible, likely with a lot of his best stuff ahead of him for this extended stay in Germany. For me this became his award to lose sometime in the first quarter of the year and I figure it'll stay that way.

Hechicero, Hideki Suzuki, Io Shirai and Meiko Satomura are the other legit contenders for me. Hechicero I think is easily the best luchador in the world, he breathes life into every trios match he's in and his real highlight stuff is on the indies (vs. Caifan from January is my #2 on the year). The BJW strong division is something I don't usually care for but Hideki is having these guys' career matches in the midst of a killer title reign with that 70s style I adore. I've given a lot more modern Joshi a chance this year and been pretty blown away by Io Shirai. She's like Shawn Michaels/Hiroshi Tanahashi but actually good, probably exemplifies the qualities you want out of an ace better than anyone right now and might have the best argument to be above Thatcher because as an overall talent I'm not sure there's anyone better. And then Satomura who needs no explanation, lovely pro wrestler who never lets you down and as a pure worker probably appeals to me a bit more than Shirai. She might have the weakest case out of this crop just because of quantity compared to the others but she's also in my #1 and #5 matches of the year which may go a long way for me when it's time to vote.

WWE has all the advantages to get someone in my top three and there's lots of people having awesome years. Braun just might be the guy leading the pack but at this point I'd like to see him have some more truly great stuff without Roman involved. There is something about WWE, maybe the overwhelming volume of content, that makes their guys having great years seem less significant though. I'm sure someone understands what I mean.

I also feel that to an extent with Yehi, who has a huge quantity of good stuff but a lot of it I have a hard time connecting to/caring about and it's probably unfair. I just never look forward to those Style Battle/FIP matches even though they're almost guaranteed to be worthwhile. He's likely a top 10 guy for me if I mapped everything out though.

Riddle and Sabre are interesting ones. Just for quantity of good stuff they might be the top two this year, and when reeled in and playing to their strengths they're easily among the best in the world. Yuki Ishikawa aside, I'm not sure there's a better grappler in wrestling than Riddle (that AMBITION match with Thatcher was unreal great until the finish) and the gap between Sabre and the next best New Japan guy this year is insane. But there are for lack of a better word indie versions of these two that I really detest and show up way too often for my liking, and I wouldn't even consider them because of it. I felt this way about Hero last year as well.

Okada and Omega are a hard no from me.

Re: Most Outstanding

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:21 am
by Quentin Moody
If it was just about enjoyment of performances Thatcher would be my number 1. Since January he's had so much more life to his matches than the last couple of years and even as someone that's liked him for a good amount of time, the level of crowd interaction he's at now is next level stuff. He's also shown the ability to adapt to people you wouldn't have thought he'd be that good with, like Austin Theory, Darby Allin, and Jason Kincaid. Only issue is his volume isn't as high as other people who I could argue higher.

I've liked Yehi a lot more than I did last year because even though he was fantastic, he often felt kind of aimless because of EVOLVE booking. This year though as the face of WWN between EVOLVE, Style Battle, and FIP he's been tremendous and I don't think anyone would be able to fill that role the way he does.

Zack is my number 1 and more than likely that's not changing the rest of the year. His volume beats everyone other than maybe Riddle in a landslide, variety in opponents isn't matched but I think his character work is still a under appreciated aspect of him game that's really been amplified this year and has made him more well rounded than years prior.

Re: Most Outstanding

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:59 am
by Alan4L
Zack may be my pick based on sheer ridiculous volume. His peaks are the Trent match in PWG and the Angelico match in FCP. Had both at ****3/4. So he doesn't have the ***** matches like Okada, Naito and Kenny but he's got way more than them when talking about the next tier of matches.

Bate or Dunne could have easily made this year theirs but they've opted to fill their indy dates with schtick based trios matches mostly and for me it hurts their cause when discussing nerdy rankings and awards. Live drunk crowds fucking adore that stuff but I forget everything they do by the next morning and I don't even drink!

Re: Most Outstanding

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:46 pm
by armsofsleep
Bate and Dunne probably have better cases as Thesz/Flair candidates than Most Outstanding guys. The BSS stuff has been mostly worthless, especially in PROGRESS. I do feel like that can knock them out of the top tiers, even if they've been great otherwise.

The most interesting thing to me this year is the diversity of ballots for people who aren't NJPW main event true believers. Last year, it was really, really difficult to argue against Styles/Hero/Riddle because all of them were on ridiculous tears. Hero in particular probably doesn't get enough credit for having a historically great year. This year, there's no slam dunk guys at all, so maybe it will just default to Zack?

I guess Yehi would have a more consistent case if Floslam didn't kill all the EVOLVE buzz.

Re: Most Outstanding

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:58 am
by Joe Lanza
In terms on non Okada, Omega, Naito picks (and Naito probably wouldn't make my Top 5 tbh, despite some super high end stuff), I agree with some of the names being brought up here, but the one that jumps out at me in my notes that nobody has brought up yet is the perpetually underappreciated Tomohiro Ishii, who I would legitimately consider for my top spot.

Re: Most Outstanding

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:47 am
by ScorpioCorp
Okada, Omega, Ishii, Naito & Elgin have been standouts this year in my opinion. The majority of matches that I've given +4.5 stars have at least one of those guys in it. NJPW has had an outstanding year in terms of match quality & those five guys have played a big part in that.

Re: Most Outstanding

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:01 pm
by armsofsleep
Elgin is a good shout. Depending on what you value, I could easily see the case for ZSJ and Big Mike as the two best wrestlers in NJPW. Both have worked a ton of singles matches all over the world in a bunch of different styles, including high high end MOTYC type stuff. It's definitely a higher degree of difficulty than a lot of other guys.

Re: Most Outstanding

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:52 pm
by Joe Lanza
Neville is having one of the best years I can ever remember for someone who hasn't sniffed a MOTY contender and barely ever touches 4-stars. He's a ***+ star machine who never has a bad match, and wrestles to his character better than just about anyone in the world. I can't even fathom how bad 205 Live would have been this year without him. Dunne has peaked higher and Braun is higher profile but Neville has probably been the best bell to bell wrestler in WWE on a week in, week out basis throughout the year.

Re: Most Outstanding

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:46 pm
by DylanZero
Recognize right away I'm not nearly as high on Okada & Omega as the rest and they almost assuredly won't be sniffing my ballot but I do think they'll be an overwhelming top two which makes my passion for these award debates flatline.

I really like Cefty's list. I'm mostly a fan of the Thatchman but haven't really pegged him for this although I enjoy much of what he's done this year for what it is. I will be revisiting him. His ZSJ title swap might be my favorite ZSJ match between that and Navarro.

Hideki would probably be my pick even though his last two title matches haven't been gangbusters nobody can get more out of a random spot show Trios or tag than he can and I'm pretty sure his Okabayashi match was the best match of the year to this point, and his two Sekimoto matches were the best Sekimoto has had in 2 years.

Ishii would be my top candidate in NJPW and have legit said this all year, far and away superior to Okada and Omega. Tanahashi has done great for what's been asked of him but doesn't have the kind of meat others do. Nobody in NJPW does really though so I think he's interesting. Naito I feel similarly to Okada in that he's good but overrated. Omega I feel half of the previous statement about.

None of the Britwres guys stand out to me as good contenders for this overall for the reasons presented already outside of ZSJ, who I definitely would put up there again for reasons already said. Same for WWE.

Miyahara and Ishikawa have good cases in AJPW in a similar vein to Hideki in that the big matches have been great but also the tags and filler matches have found a way to be really strong and not boring and monotonous. On top of that, I'm not sure there's a better singular performance on paper by anyone than getting a ****+ match out of The Bodyguard.

Of Joshi I enjoy Io but am not as high on her as a lot of people, I actually think Mayu is better bell to bell and Stardom hasn't been the best bell to bell company this year. Meiko is an excellent wrestler but has taken a step back on purpose in her company. Chihiro Hashimoto has had a great year and would probably be my pick over either of them, though I have really enjoyed Yoshiko & Arisa Nakajima in Sead too and think with more shows they could be great candidates.

Lucha is a wasteland of terrible booking this year that has hurt everyone from being viable contenders imo but by God if someone wants to put Hechicero then don't let me stop you. His January was great and he is great when given the chance.

I'm probably at
1. Hideki
2. Miyahara
3. ZSJ

Re: Most Outstanding

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:04 am
by Ten410
KUSHIDA, Matt Riddle, Tomohiro Ishii, Io Shirai, & AJ Styles have really been doing it for me. It seems everywhere they’ve went and every situation they have been put they all have over delivered greatly.

Re: Most Outstanding

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:11 am
by FilipPejic
Right now my top 5
3.Pete Dunne
4. Will Ospreay
5. Ricochet/Prince Puma

Okada obviously this year has been amazing. Neville has restablished himself as a superstars and can’t wait to see what he does now since he left wwe. Dunne has great WWE UK title match defences and has had great matches in the UK.

Re: Most Outstanding

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:36 am
by Weirzbowski
1. Kushida
2. Ishii
3. Okada
4. Ospreay
5. ZSJ

Omega is hard to place as outside of his matches with Okada I don't think of him. I don't know that he has a consistent body of work.

Re: Most Outstanding

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:20 pm
by Rich Kraetsch
Omega seemed like a cakewalk after the G1 (for me at least) but he's fallen off a bit in the last half of the year and doesn't have a whole lot of opportunities to make up that ground. He was my pick but he's fallen behind the pack a bit.

He's been mentioned a few time but ZSJ is an awesome pick, you have to be a thorough watcher of PWG, AAW and EVOLVE to really understand how great he's been this year but IF you are one of those people, you get it. Consistently great across the board, super high volume of solid matches. Maybe he lacks the spectacular like Okada/Omega, but he certainly makes up for it in consistency.

Okada is probably my pick right now due in large part to two of my favorite matches ever and an extensive run in the G1 but there are a few more contenders vying for my attention including ZSJ and Will Ospreay.