By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Dot Net readers were allowed a single vote per day for each of the 2019 awards categories. The following are the results of our poll for Best Male Wrestler along with our staff comments. Thanks to everyone who took part in the voting.
1. Adam Cole (25 percent)
2. Kazuchika Okada and Chris Jericho (Tied – 13 percent)
3. Will Ospreay (7 percent)
4. Jon Moxley (6 percent)
5. Seth Rollins (5 percent)
Others (31 percent)
Jeff Lutz’s Thoughts: Seth Rollins won over fans early in the year with his ring work, much like Kofi Kingston did around the same time. He lost fan support with some misguided tweets and comments, as well as the Becky Lynch on-screen pairing, but turned that into a convincing heel character without sacrificing any in-ring excellence.
John Moore’s Thoughts: Interesting enough, it became a coin flip between Walter and Tyler Bate for me. I’m going to go with Big Daddy Walter (I always like using the name he used before joining WWE). Speaking of before WWE, I was never the biggest Walter fan because I was more impressed by his tag team partner Marcel Barthel, who I thought was more of a complete package. Barthel leaves the indies for WWE and Walter all of a sudden becomes a huge sensation. Now that he’s in NXT UK, the guy puts on my personal favorite style of wrestling to watch and I think it’s a style that captivates the masses over high flying. Walter’s “fights” are just simple beatdowns. You can’t help but be enthralled by this guy’s brutality. His brutality makes it easy for his smaller opponents to tell a sympathetic story and it’s the storytelling of his matches that I think push him over the top as the best male pro wrestler of the year.
Anish V’s Thoughts: This one is a personal decision. Kofi Kingston was always my answer for “Favorite Wrestler who never won the big one.” Then in 2019 he did it, and regardless of the end to his championship run, the journey to WrestleMania and his subsequent feuds with Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler, and Randy Orton made sure I was more invested in Kofi than I was in anyone else, and regardless of the fact that he hasn’t been in the main event scene since his loss to Brock Lesnar. I give him no less credit for his continued great work with The New Day.
Nick Perkins’ Thoughts: There are a plethora of worthy individuals – Kazuchika Okada, Chris Jericho, Seth Rollins, Kenny Omega, Adam Cole, and so many others. For this writer, the best wrestler who consistently had the best matches was none other than Johnny Wrestling himself, Johnny Gargano. I mean, it’s in the guy’s name! Other wrestlers had bigger names, brighter stages or more titles, but it was Gargano who consistently put on the best match on whatever card he was on. Whether he was feuding with Adam Cole, Tommaso Ciampa, or anyone in between, when Johnny was Wrestling, you knew it was going to be a match that took your breath away. This is a guy who faced a little fan backlash after a whirlwind of a year. But even if fans were booing Gargano at the beginning of a match, by the end of it they were once again chanting his name and pulling for him to win, solely because of his performance. That’s why Johnny Wrestling’s middle name should be ‘Is The Best At’.
Powell’s Thoughts: Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that Adam Cole only topped the NJPW wrestlers due to New Japan not being as visible, keep in mind that Kenny Omega won this award last year. The timing of Cole having an incredible stretch of matches leading up to and at Survivor Series sure helped his cause. And while I take no issue with Cole getting the nod, he was actually third on my list. There’s no one I enjoy watching in the ring more than Will Ospreay. He changed his style and takes fewer risks than he did in the past, and he’s added some muscle to his frame, and he was better than ever. Okada received my second place vote for yet another outstanding year, Daniel Bryan finished behind Cole, and I’m torn between Johnny Gargano and Kota Ibushi in the fifth spot. I really hope Kenny Omega returns to his 2018 form and finds his way back to the top five in 2020.