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Thread: Sports Illustrated top 10 wrestlers of 2017

  1. #21
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    Re: Sports Illustrated top 10 wrestlers of 2017

    I like Keith Lee but I think the only reason he's on the list is because the writer was googling Matt Riddle matches in an attempt to act like he knows his shit and found their match at Evolve 94 and said "oh here is an obscure choice, instant indie cred here."



  2. #22
    YES! YES! YES!

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    Re: Sports Illustrated top 10 wrestlers of 2017

    Quote Originally Posted by Zero View Post
    I think you can easily make the case Omega's #1 when it comes to pure drawing ability worldwide although you can put Okada up there as well due to him all over the place. The problem is if you actually look at it, a lot of Okada's worst matches this year were with Omega to me. His G1 was the best of his career imo with my favorite match of the tournament vs Suzuki (~!), great match vs EVIL, the first legitimately good match of his Omega trilogy, Elgin was quite good, vs Kojima was great. He showed something to me as an in-ring worker in G1 he hasn't before and that was a top 5 worker throughout. He's had enough good by sheer volume that I think I would probably put him over Naito although the Naito/Tanahashi series was way better than Okada/Omega's if you ask me. Matches elsewhere vs Cody, Slex, & even when he gets to tag with YOSHI-HASHI he's a much better tag wrestler than Naito or Omega with anyone in their stables. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think when you consider drawing and whatnot Okada & Naito have to be #1 & #2 even though they're both outside of my personal top 10 in-ring. Omega's wrestling is much worse but his drawing is strong so I think he should be considered for the top 10 but a bit lower as well. You can make the same argument for Cody as Omega btw, only Omega can peak higher and despite my problems with those Okada matches Omega busted his ass in them and at WK in particular he put on his best possible performance. But without the power of Bullet Club behind them as well as NJPW in Omega's case, where would Cody/Omega be? I think Cody would be fine because he's such a great self promoter, Omega as the Cleaner was having shit matches and was a blip on the radar in wrestling not a year and a half ago. I think Cody can be up there as a sort of reverse Ishii in that he's strong in one area but lacking in others.
    Once I started writing it out it did seem a little wrong not to be including Omega, but I guess I'm trying to create a top 10 where I enjoy the in-ring work from everyone, I want the work rate box to be checked in all top wrestlers as a minimum requirement. I don't have a problem including him if we were to say he's so strong on the business side of things it can overcome his iffy ring work.

    I'm not sure Cody would be such a hit outside of The Bullet Club. Would he of made a top 10 list of best wrestlers in 2016 which was essentially his indy run as a solo act post WWE? He was in demand and his dream match list thing was over for a few months, but eventually that settled down to him really only working for ROH and NJPW by the beginning of 2017. Would he have any kind of role in New Japan if he hypothetically refused to be apart of the Bullet Club? because he never works full tours or tournaments so he doesn't seem that motivated to do anything in Japan, it's like he's only there because of ROH obligations. Likewise if Cody wasn't apart of the Elite, would he of still been the top act in ROH all year? He might of been, he still would of been champion most likely, but I don't think people would of contributed ROH's business success to the work of Cody Rhodes as a singles wrestler. I really think Cody leans on the popularity of The Young Bucks to keep himself relevant more than Kenny Omega does tbqh.

    It's so hard to fairly rank WWE guys in comparison to others because it's so obvious that the brand is the draw as Ed mentioned. That knocks a lot of them off the list really. Like for example Gargano, and I love him, probably my favorite person in NXT, but realistically he's had a handful of standout matches and made no difference to anything business-wise. How can he be in the top 10 realistically compared to someone like Miyahara, who has had a ton of worthwhile matches, actually quite a bit more on sheer volume, and some legit great though I would say Gargano has been a better "pure" worker and carried a promotion for half the year? Even in drawing it can be an esoteric game, NOAH didn't draw well for most of the year but Kotoge with his versatility and general awesomeness kept the crowd alive during the lowest period and business noticeably picked up during his (brief) main event push. He to me has a better case than someone like Gargano or Asuka. AJ and Roman are clear difference makers to their shows as the shows are usually much better from an in-ring and entertainment standpoint when they get opportunities but that's not really "drawing". I guess that's why business relevancy counts.
    Yeah when I listed Gargano I must admit I wasn't thinking much about the business side of things, I was thinking more along the lines of he's the best babyface in the world and one of WWE's most consistent wrestlers and arguably the star of their third brand. As you say, WWE is the brand so it becomes impossible to judge WWE and non-WWE wrestlers together in one list if drawing power becomes a criteria. That's why I usually make it easier for myself and just judge it 100% on in ring work when thinking about the best wrestler in the world, more of an even playing field across the board.

    I know this is going to be controversial, but I don't see Braun as any kind of great worker or wrestler of the year. He's a great tv character but in-ring I think people let booking cloud their vision way too much on a lot of people. When he wasn't wrestling in a match with Roman Reigns he's essentially been a wet fart in the ring but he's booked to be such a great character, how can he not be super cool and over and fun to watch when he's wrecking ambulances and looking like a mega badass all the time? I think people credit that to him though too much instead of great booking. Similarly to the opposite of how people used to say Sheamus wasn't great even though he was he was just booked so crappy all the time it was hard to be invested in him. That shouldn't affect his in-ring judgments though. Same for Braun. His matches are not great at all and now that they've started to screw him up he's come way down in everyone's rankings.
    I do think it's harsh to call him a wet fart outside of Roman matches. The Big Show matches are really good TV matches and it's going back a while but the Sami Zayn last man standing match is Sami's best match all year. Yes the booking does add to his aura and it's no surprise the 'great wrestler' talk has died down since WWE completely botched his booking and killed his aura, but I still maintain he's a very good big man wrestler.

    British Strong Style ruined themselves for me and I can't in good conscience put any of them in the top ten, and there have been others with much better years anyway but Dunne is my favorite of the bunch and if you're going to put Gargano in there Dunne's WWE work is among the best in the company just in terms of an average, just not enough volume.
    They certainly have ruined themselves. There was a point halfway in the year where Tyler Bate was an easy top 10 in the world for me, but then I just got sick of the act in Progress and it became hard to enjoy them anywhere else.

    10. Kenny Omega - I put him in the top 10 because of his drawing purely as I think he is the #1 star worldwide, even among WWE fans who don't watch anything else he is well known and selling out Chicago so fast based on him alone was as legit of a case for one man drawing as I can remember. He HAS had great matches with Ishii, vs Elgin (Long Beach) was quite good as well as his Juice matches, all over ****. (I had the best Okada match at ***3/4 in the G1) but there's so many more times he's not just below average as a wrestler but embarrassing to watch while performing which is something that always stands out for me when looking at bad wrestlers, and if not he is too over-reliant on spamming his signature knee strikes without worrying about any greater psychology, I just cannot co-sign him as a standout performer, but you also cannot deny his impact on the business this year. It sucks but he has to be here.
    Looking back on my list, I might sub Omega for Starr begrudgingly.

    9. Hiroshi Tanahashi - I have long since said he doesn't get enough respect in the West for his popularity and drawing ability. As well as his in-ring accomplishments. His G1 and trilogy with Naito were not only top notch, he played the biggest role in those matches being great. His match vs. Ibushi was in my top 3 for NJPW alone this year, he has been great and played a big and underrated role in elevating people. Respect the man, Ed. Good job. His yearly rest and being forced to work with Billy Gunn in one of the worst matches of the year and a general lack of stuff outside of the NJPW ring keep him from being higher.
    Go ace~! The man also gets more eyes on New Japan from just having a haircut, so he's a noted draw in my mind.

    8. AJ Styles - As mentioned the face that runs the place is the man who can have a great match with basically anyone not named show killer Kevin Owens. Now granted it's Jinder and he's awful, but the difference between the two at the top on Smackdown is startling. I think his impact is felt most on shows when he's not on. Because he alone usually can elevate it to being watchable, pretty much every Smackdown I've seen where he doesn't wrestle has been downright terrible. Plus, although his year in and of itself has not been as strong as many others due to bad booking, he had my #1 WWE match of the year vs. Lesnar (disagree with Ed a bit. Lesnar did his job don't get me wrong, but I thought AJ was CLEARLY the one who made that match, both on offense and doing his damndest to make Lesnar actually give a crap for once which he didn't he hasn't done in any of his other matches since Goldberg and look incredible in the process. Without a couple of noticeable instances of sloppiness I think that could have been an overall MOTYC but just came a bit short) and if you can point me to someone else who can have a great match with Shane McMahon and good one with Jinder I would love to see that person because I'm not sure he exists. He had to make my list even though as I said it was a down year realistically for him and nobody makes a business difference in WWE.
    I guess WWE has felt a little more like TNA to AJ this year with how shit the TV show he's working on is and how many times he's had to get something watchable out of an inferior wrestler. With AJ, you know there's always a chance you're gonna see something great.

    7. Shotaro Ashino - I know nobody watches Wrestle-1 so I'll try to keep this brief. But he really has made a difference as the Ace and is a great wrestler who everyone should check out for his matches against a bunch of rookies for the most part (and he's only 3 years in.). His matches against Jiro Kuroshio and Daiki Inaba were great and under his leadership W-1 has improved to doing over 1,000 people in Korakuen and their big show in Yokohama was over 1800. Not great numbers for sure still but from where they were and where they would be without him, he deserves a mention, in addition to being a top 10 in-ring performer in the world in 2017. Simple is best.
    Legit haven't seen a single match of his all year, so can't comment.

    6. Hideki Suzuki - I guess I'm a little different than Ed because I have to give someone love when they're as strong on the list as a pure in-ring worker. As a draw he's a rare case of someone who has been both great and bad, but smart observers of BJW know the downturn was a fault of the promotion and lack of depth than him or his title reign. His original title shot vs Sekimoto, in addition to being a great match was also the first time BJW did a higher number than NJPW at Korakuen. His second match and first defenses against Okabayashi (my #1 MOTY overall) as well as another great one vs. lame duck Kamitani were similarly successful, but after blowing through his opponent at BJW's biggest show of the year things seem to stall for the Big Boss of Puroresu. Still the in-ring work remained so strong he has to he up there. He's the rare case of a performer who makes any random tag or Trios match as great as it could be, elevating everyone around him at the same time. In terms of pure star ratings he isn't as strong as others but in terms of actually wrestling great, he blows away everyone from my perspective. Unfortunately a lack of impact and houses going south by the end of his reign, whether his fault or not holds him back from getting higher on my list. Could have been a strong #1 contender.
    I knew this was coming from you, but I just don't see it in Suzuki. I've seen a couple of his recommended BJW matches this year and they just don't do anything for me. Maybe I'll turn the corner on him in the future like I did with Thatcher.

    5. Kento Miyahara - It's funny because I actually think it's been kind of a down year for him in comparison to last year's epic title reign and really hadn't even considered him before diving deep. But his in-ring actually sneakily was incredibly strong once again, and in addition his great stuff often comes against unproven or undermanned talent such as Bodyguard who is old as hell, and Jake Lee, who Kento successfully elevated before his injury. His matches against Shuji Ishikawa and Suwama were among the best of the year in its own right and his importance to AJPW can't be understated. They've reached even greater heights in 2017 largely due to his influence, although I can't move him higher when he's largely been in the background for 4 months out of the year and still trying to find himself. Still he jumped up over Ashino for me due to having a legit great match teaming with Yoshitatsu at the very end. Elevating him is a legendary accomplishment and appears to have a shot at it. He has to be top 5 for that alone.
    Haven't really watched enough AJPW to agree or argue with this take, but you are the high man on Kento. Hard to argue against the drawing ability.

    4. Zack Sabre Jr. - I was sleeping on ZSJ but when I guest hosted on the Psychology is Dead Show talking about Aces and top stars in wrestling, not that I'd ever plug it or anything although feel free to click the link I just posted and check it out, we had a conversation off the air about wrestler of the year and he brought up that he had Zack at #1 in the ring and at first I was shaking my head but after diving deeper into it his in-ring volume is staggering and in addition the variety of talents and places he's been is crazy. He is a star and a name in every place he's been, with MOTYCs in particular in America vs. Chuck Taylor and Timothy Thatcher. It is a little bit confusing as to why his name has gone under the radar in comparison to last year when this year effectively blows away his lackluster 2016. Whether on the indies in PWG or EVOLVE (among others, I just watched him have a damn good match with Amazing Red yesterday), in RevPro and Progress, Japan (where despite being cursed with being in awful SZKG and not getting as much out of Tanahashi in his big shot, he finished 6th in my overall G1 rankings) , or Australia he's a global champion in wrestling and deserves a ton of credit, even with a handful of truly top tier matches.
    Nice plug.

    I hear what you're saying about ZSJ, and you know me I do think he's an elite wrestler. I guess he just hops around too much to know what his worth is to a promotion and how much of a draw he is for a list like this. The only indies he regularly appears for are PWG, and they would sell out even if he wasn't on the shows, and Evolve who for sure didn't have as good a year as they did last year and he's been on top for most of it. Evolve have been more relevant this year for Floslam troubles than for their product, maybe it's just me but I don't feel like anyone has really talked about Zack's evolve matches since he won the belt from Thatcher and that was back at the start of the year. This has been the biggest year for Britwres in about 20 years and Zack had very little to do with that, it's been the biggest year for wXw ever and Zack had absolutely nothing to do with that either despite that place being a spiritual home to him for most his career. Also, and I know this isn't his fault but facts are facts, his NJPW run has not been anywhere near as good as it could of been because they've got him in Suzuki-Gun. G1 was much improved, but it still took into July to see the real Zack in New Japan.

    3. WALTER - Ed pretty much summarized him well but he has truly been a force and someone I consider one of the best wrestlers in the world. #2 overall behind Hideki Suzuki. But his drawing ability is also fun to see as he grows bigger and bigger in name value. I hope he doesn't end up going to WWE and becoming Kassius Ohno's jobber tag partner (or worse like WALTER's own extremely talented former partner who is stuck in Buttfuck, Florida currently and doing nothing of note) but if he keeps things up he and people like Thatcher are helping grow WXW into a premier company worldwide. I'm not really a huge fan of the direction BritWres has taken but that company and in particular WALTER give me hope yet as he branches out. 100% agree with Ed, and think in-ring he is a great choice, but just objectively I can't deny the 2 NJPW guys on a global scale as NJPW has grown in a way no foreign company ever really has before in the West.
    Walter ftw <3

    2. Kazuchika Okada - The chosen one by NJPW and I realize I kinda blew the lead on him at the top of this list. Still, he's done pretty much everything NJPW wants out of him as the Ace, as I mentioned not only having a career in-ring year but representing the company well wherever he went and maintaining a star presence about him. He's a deserving star even if far from my favorite and In my dream world I hope he is never IWGP World Champion again.

    1. Tetsuya Naito - He's had a very consistent in-ring year and I love the first two Tanahashi matches, though I have to admit his G1 was a tad disappointing to me, though I will give him a bit of slack as he and Goto were both talked about as heavily injured during the tournament. He let me down in a couple of matches and the Fale match was awful, seemed to need superior in-ring performers to reach the next level, unlike Okada who has the aforementioned matches where he carried Cody, Suzuki, & Slex. But his importance locally is gigantic and with that said it gives him an edge in my book to Okada, although again in Okada's defense. Although Naito's merch is super hot you have to take into account the Japanese mindset that merch is often bought due to factions, and CHAOS is ice cold in comparison to the red hot LIJ. Still this isn't about philosophy or what-ifs, the numbers show he is super over and very important to the company, almost becoming a cult of personality with his rabid fanbase. Combined with his very good in-ring year he takes my number 1.
    I'd agree with Naito > Okada for best wrestler in 2017 all things considered. We had 5 of the same wrestlers there so not too bad considering how much more Puro you watch which is easier to keep track of business wise.

  3. #23
    TAKE THE DREAM~

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    Re: Sports Illustrated top 10 wrestlers of 2017

    Okay, I've just noticed something in this list and it may explain Naito's exclusion from the list.


    Top three matches of 2017: vs. Kenny Omega (Wrestle Kingdom 11), vs. Tiger Mask W (45th Anniversary), vs. Katsuyori Shibata (Sakura Genesis)

    Kazuchika Okada remains a mystery to a large part of the North American audience, but that began to change in 2017.

    Okada steered the ship during New Japan’s maiden voyage into the United States for its G1 Special in the USA on AXS TV in July, where he worked with Cody Rhodes. Okada’s work is so finely-tuned and compelling that the match was Rhodes’ best match of the year, where it fell somewhere closer to the tenth best match of Okada’s year.


    Can Okada’s star grow in 2018, particularly in North America? New Japan returns to California in March, likely with Tetsuya Naito as IWGP heavyweight champion. Okada is so closely connected with the IWGP championship, and he is set to break the all-time record for combined days as champion in the next week, so it will be telling to see how Okada responds if he is no longer holding the title.

    Look at it, I've looked through it and read it multiple times and I don't see ONE mention for his contributions to the Japanese side of business. It's all about his impact in north america. The last paragraph is a huge example of this, it's only focusing on North America and completely ignoring Japan. WTF. Does anything in Japan mean anything? Is that why Naito is not on the list because most of his impact is in Japan?
    Spoiler:


    Milano Forever!

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    Re: Sports Illustrated top 10 wrestlers of 2017

    Quote Originally Posted by MC 16 View Post
    Okay, I've just noticed something in this list and it may explain Naito's exclusion from the list.





    Look at it, I've looked through it and read it multiple times and I don't see ONE mention for his contributions to the Japanese side of business. It's all about his impact in north america. The last paragraph is a huge example of this, it's only focusing on North America and completely ignoring Japan. WTF. Does anything in Japan mean anything? Is that why Naito is not on the list because most of his impact is in Japan?
    To an American sports journalism site that mostly covers North American sports, not really.

  5. #25
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    Re: Sports Illustrated top 10 wrestlers of 2017

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed
    Once I started writing it out it did seem a little wrong not to be including Omega, but I guess I'm trying to create a top 10 where I enjoy the in-ring work from everyone, I want the work rate box to be checked in all top wrestlers as a minimum requirement. I don't have a problem including him if we were to say he's so strong on the business side of things it can overcome his iffy ring work.

    I'm not sure Cody would be such a hit outside of The Bullet Club. Would he of made a top 10 list of best wrestlers in 2016 which was essentially his indy run as a solo act post WWE? He was in demand and his dream match list thing was over for a few months, but eventually that settled down to him really only working for ROH and NJPW by the beginning of 2017. Would he have any kind of role in New Japan if he hypothetically refused to be apart of the Bullet Club? because he never works full tours or tournaments so he doesn't seem that motivated to do anything in Japan, it's like he's only there because of ROH obligations. Likewise if Cody wasn't apart of the Elite, would he of still been the top act in ROH all year? He might of been, he still would of been champion most likely, but I don't think people would of contributed ROH's business success to the work of Cody Rhodes as a singles wrestler. I really think Cody leans on the popularity of The Young Bucks to keep himself relevant more than Kenny Omega does tbqh.
    I find it hard to really disagree with any of this, but I do think the Bullet Club brand has helped out Omega and the Bucks both a lot. I guess what I was really trying to say was I don't think Cody is that much worse than Omega in the ring, if anything he gets dumped on a bit much. Thought you could make the case Cody's match with Okada was as good as any of Omega's and Cody has popularity and his own fanbase in his own right. Whether that makes him as good or better than Omega is obviously debatable but I think if you count drawing he has to be up there realistically whether by hook or crook. But I think really there's nothing wrong with your take on it and placing in-ring stuff first and more important. To me that's what talking about wrestling should always be about at its core and business stuff is a secondary discussion because when you break it down it's very hard to quantify anyone as a true draw with it being so subjective as to why fans would go to a show in the first place. Who's to say what the main drawing match of WK is really? Omega could be the #1 reason for its success or a non-factor. Nobody knows for a 100% fact really even though there are signs of a difference maker.

    Yeah when I listed Gargano I must admit I wasn't thinking much about the business side of things, I was thinking more along the lines of he's the best babyface in the world and one of WWE's most consistent wrestlers and arguably the star of their third brand. As you say, WWE is the brand so it becomes impossible to judge WWE and non-WWE wrestlers together in one list if drawing power becomes a criteria. That's why I usually make it easier for myself and just judge it 100% on in ring work when thinking about the best wrestler in the world, more of an even playing field across the board.
    As I said, completely fair and rest assured Omega (or Cody) wouldn't be anywhere near my in-ring top 10 and that is the main reason for my top 10 as well including people like Hideki and Ashino and Kento.

    I do think it's harsh to call him a wet fart outside of Roman matches. The Big Show matches are really good TV matches and it's going back a while but the Sami Zayn last man standing match is Sami's best match all year. Yes the booking does add to his aura and it's no surprise the 'great wrestler' talk has died down since WWE completely botched his booking and killed his aura, but I still maintain he's a very good big man wrestler.
    You're probably right that he isn't that bad and I actually totally blanked on the Show match which was good and directly because of him. I still probably credit booking more than him in the context of this list and probably rate him lower than most here as an in-ring worker but he does have value. I just think when it comes to very good big man wrestlers on a WOTY level I'm thinking of someone like Vader and I can't possibly rate Braun on that same level (right now, he has taken steps forward and who knows how good he will be?)

    They certainly have ruined themselves. There was a point halfway in the year where Tyler Bate was an easy top 10 in the world for me, but then I just got sick of the act in Progress and it became hard to enjoy them anywhere else.
    Hopefully 2018 they can get back to what made them great in the first place. I love Dunne & Bate as talents.

    I guess WWE has felt a little more like TNA to AJ this year with how shit the TV show he's working on is and how many times he's had to get something watchable out of an inferior wrestler. With AJ, you know there's always a chance you're gonna see something great.
    He's just awesome. Always has been. I'm really happy you took the dive on him and he's so over and successful to the WWE fans. Also of note that feud with Owens was lackluster in the ring and AJ also has not been booked very strong in comparison to other main eventers. But his overness is equal to a lot of guys they do a lot more with.

    I haven't seen a single match of his.
    RE: Ashino - He's well praised by pretty much everyone who I've seen. Whether NJPW diehards or technical fans who watch everything, he has something for everyone. If you have some free time his title run is worth checking out. (*s for the top 3, Inaba is my favorite but it is a bit long)

    - vs Masayuki Kono - 3/20
    - vs Shuji Kondo - 4/19
    - vs Manabu Soya - 5/4*
    - vs Koji Doi - 6/6
    - vs Jiro Kuroshio - 9/2*
    - vs Daiki Inaba - 9/18*
    - vs Kumagoro - 11/5
    - vs Takanori Ito - 12/10

    I knew this was coming from you, but I just don't see it in Suzuki. I've seen a couple of his recommended BJW matches this year and they just don't do anything for me. Maybe I'll turn the corner on him in the future like I did with Thatcher.
    The second half of his title reign turned into storytelling matches based around him being a dominant technical champion that weren't meant to be great and a lot of people didn't rate them highly, even me. But understanding context and being involved as a true fan of the fed itself helps because he played his role perfectly even though it led to some only solid matches. If the Okabayashi match did nothing for you, shit that's crazy. Seeing Okabayashi do something different for the first time was awesome and they blended their styles together perfectly. I legit thought that was a ***** match. The original Kamitani match in May was quite good too, the Sekimoto matches did big business (I liked the second a but more than the original), was very impressed although we got less of "give no fucks, let's brawl" Hideki we saw last year which was epic. Hideki going to WXW would be awesome and get you into him though. BJW is still a pretty cold fed to you and all, similar to Thatcher in EVOLVE. (And Thatch was booked way worse)

    Haven't really watched enough AJPW to agree or argue with this take, but you are the high man on Kento. Hard to argue against the drawing ability.
    Honestly much like ZSJ when I first thought about it he wasn't on the radar at all, and I kinda thought he had a down year, wasn't a fan of some changes to his formula. But when I looked back he did really well both as a wrestler and carrying others in addition to his drawing ability. Would recommend some more matches and I would be very surprised if you didn't dig these. Suwama in particular will for sure be in my top 10 if not top 5 for the year.

    - w/Jake Lee vs Bodyguard & Zeus - 2/17
    vs The Bodyguard - 2/26*
    vs Jake Lee - 4/16*
    vs KAI - 4/23*
    vs Shuji Ishikawa - 5/21*
    vs Joe Doering - 7/17
    vs Shuji Ishikawa - 8/26*
    vs Yoshitatsu - 9/18
    vs Suwama - 10/9*
    w/Yoshitatsu vs Suwama & Shuji Ishikawa - 12/12*

    Nice plug.

    I hear what you're saying about ZSJ, and you know me I do think he's an elite wrestler. I guess he just hops around too much to know what his worth is to a promotion and how much of a draw he is for a list like this. The only indies he regularly appears for are PWG, and they would sell out even if he wasn't on the shows, and Evolve who for sure didn't have as good a year as they did last year and he's been on top for most of it. Evolve have been more relevant this year for Floslam troubles than for their product, maybe it's just me but I don't feel like anyone has really talked about Zack's evolve matches since he won the belt from Thatcher and that was back at the start of the year. This has been the biggest year for Britwres in about 20 years and Zack had very little to do with that, it's been the biggest year for wXw ever and Zack had absolutely nothing to do with that either despite that place being a spiritual home to him for most his career. Also, and I know this isn't his fault but facts are facts, his NJPW run has not been anywhere near as good as it could of been because they've got him in Suzuki-Gun. G1 was much improved, but it still took into July to see the real Zack in New Japan.
    I do my best not to plug my own work too much tbf.

    I agree with your point and like I said on my year end awards show on the Eastern Lariat ( That I've helpfully linked to right here ...okay I'll stop now.) when it comes to an MVP candidate it's hard for someone who is freelance and all over the place to be considered instead of someone in a set promotion. And he also has an added benefit of largely working big talent and important matches. Outside of NJPW there's a certain standard of opposition for him. Counter to someone like AJ who is forced to work guys like Kevin Owens and Jinder regularly. I just think if you dig his work there's a lot there that hasn't gotten necessarily talked up as much as it could have because of the reasons we both stated. If he worked the UK for the entire year I firmly believe he would be a difference maker and even on the indies in the US he clearly has name value. The EVOLVE stuff isn't his fault as their own stupidity with FloSlam cost them a good few of their regular viewers including me. And in NJPW his Goto Match in April was really strong until the interference. I just can't penalize him too much for these things when he has so much on his resume when it comes to strong matches and not to repeat myself, but he's enough of a draw that I think he's a worthy candidate.

    Your list was really good, man. I think if Hideki wrestles in more notable places and can get some momentum under him you'll come around. Ashino & Miyahara too though I don't know if they would fit as well in Ringkampf as Hideki would.
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    Re: Sports Illustrated top 10 wrestlers of 2017

    All I'm going to say is Okada > Omega.
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