By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Dot Net readers were allowed a single vote each of the 2017 awards categories. The following are the results of our poll for Best Female Wrestler along with our staff comments. Thanks to everyone who took part in the voting.
1. Asuka (40 percent)
2. Alexa Bliss (26 percent)
3. Charlotte (13 percent)
4. Becky Lynch (6 percent)
5. Rosemary (3 percent)
Others (12 percent)
Jake Barnett’s Take I had a tough time deciding between Asuka and Io Shirai this year, but I think the nod has to go to Asuka simply due to just how consistent and dominant she was in each of her performances. Her early run on the main roster was a bit of a mess creatively, but she had been on an absolute tear in NXT, and continues to deliver in the ring every time she has been put in a position to do so. It’s no wonder why WWE is as high on her as they are.
Will Pruett’s Thoughts: 2017 was the year of Asuka and hopefully 2018 will be as well. Aside from the obvious top choice, I also want to mention Kairi Sane who delighted in the Mae Young Classic and had a great first half of 2017 in Stardom in Japan. While Asuka was the obvious top choice, Kairi is more than a worthy second.
Zack Zimmerman’s Thoughts: For all the talk of this women’s revolution/evolution, it sure doesn’t feel like they’ve built a lot of real stars. Charlotte and Sasha Banks are probably the biggest stars and they didn’t have stand-out years to me. Asuka is an act that I enjoyed in NXT but essentially grew somewhat bored with. She’s had a strong main roster debut year, but I’m not enamored with the booking of her nor her match layouts. Alexa Bliss is a good character, solid on the mic, and fine in the ring, but again it doesn’t feel like a stand-out year. Despite the limited screen time, I’m almost inclined to give this award to Kairi Sane or Shayna Baszler for their Mae Young Classic performances which stand out to me more than anything previously mentioned.
John Moore’s Thoughts: I’ll thank fellow Dot Net Staffer Haydn Gleed for tipping me off to her and she may fly under the radar for most main stream wrestling fans. That said, when she showed up for a sip of coffee on the main stream with the Mae Young Classic, she really captivated people. I’ll give my vote to the first ever Progress Women’s Champion Toni Storm. Asuka had a good year, but her year was good due to the undefeated legend and NXT’s women division being on the rebound. Toni Storm is someone you build a division around, that’s what Progress did. She’s just very charismatic and great as a technical wrestler. I was never a huge fan of the Rikishi butt-type offense but somehow Storm manages to make it work. Anime fans would get this one, but I’ve compared Storm to a real life Keijo character. I even joked about Asuka and Storm having a Keijo ass battle. If you don’t get my reference, just search on youtube “Keijo Trailer” and you’ll get the reference (though it may be NSFW, even though in Japan it’s a cartoon that is shown on regular TV).
Haydn Gleed’s Thoughts: Honorable mention to the Mae Young Classic contestant and Progress Women’s champion Toni Storm, who has had a great year from a career standpoint. Being a standout in the WWE tournament with the level of opposition was no easy feat, and she has also had good to great matches with ladies who are still in the process of developing their skillset in Progress and on the UK indie scene. But for sheer making the most of the push she has received and still appearing to be one of the most dominant ladies in the world, my vote goes to Asuka.
Jason Powell’s Thoughts: My sad tradition of mistakenly excluding a talented individual from the list of candidates occurred here with Sasha Banks not being included. That’s totally on me and she is most definitely deserving of being one of the 20 candidates. That said, it’s hard to argue with Asuka in the top spot when she had plenty of quality in-ring performances. Charlotte gets my second place nod. And as much as I enjoy the Alexa Bliss character, I can’t put her in my top three when it comes to her in-ring game. I must confess that I don’t see the Stardom promotion, but if Kairi Sane’s work in the U.S. is any indication then I’m missing out. It’s good to see the staff give so many (mini) hat tips to the talented Toni Storm, who truly came off like a star in the Mae Young Classic.
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The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Allysin Kay discussing Friday's NWA Hard Times PPV on FITE.TV, Melina dropping an unexpected f-bomb on NWA Powerrr, the WWE Mae Young Classic experience, her time as Sienna in Impact Wrestling, working in Japan, the Tessa Blanchard controversy, and more...