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NJPW News: Kenny Omega wins highly prestigious Japanese wrestling award

SENIOR ANALYST
News
817   //    22 Jan 2019, 10:02 IST

Omega and Okada made history once again by sharing a highly prestigious award in Japan
Omega and Okada made history once again by sharing a highly prestigious award in Japan

What’s the story?

Kenny Omega, who has gone by the nickname ‘the Best Bout Machine’ has lived up to that name once again following an awards ceremony over this past weekend. This is because Omega won the Tokyo Sports Puroresu Awards’ ‘Best Bout Award’ for the second time in a row.

In case you didn’t know…

Tokyo Sports is one of the oldest sports magazines in Japan, having been founded back in 1960. It follows many sports in Japan, including pro wrestling/puroresu. Unlike in North America, pro wrestling in Japan is treated more like a sport than soap opera-style entertainment. As a result, publications treat it with more respect and legitimacy.

The Tokyo Sports Puroresu Awards are voted on by an external panel and the awards are given in early January each year. Unlike most ‘awards’ in North America, these awards are treated as ‘legit’ in many ways by the puroresu community in Japan.

Because of this, they carry significant weight in that country, and any person to win these awards is considered to be among the best of the best in Japan.

The heart of the matter

The 2018 Tokyo Sports Puroresu Awards for 2018 have been released, with the awards ceremony having taken place a few days ago. This prestigious ceremony was referenced in the most recent episode of ‘Being The Elite’, with Kenny Omega having discussed his award briefly in said episode. (skip to the 5:00 minute mark in the video below).


While Kenny Omega did say he was hoping to win the MVP award (i.e. the best wrestler award), he did not. Instead, he achieved another feat, winning the Best Bout Award for his spectacular match with Kazuchika Okada at Dominion 6.9.

That match received widespread praise from fans and critics alike, including a record-breaking 7-star rating by the Wrestling Observer.

What makes this award more prestigious is that Omega and Okada also won the same award for 2017 for their scale-breaking match at Wrestle Kingdom 12 last year. In doing so, they have become one of only two duos of wrestlers to win the Best Bout Award two years in a row. The first duo to have done so was Mitsuharu Misawa and Kenta Kobashi, who won the same award for their matches in both 1997 and 1998.

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Among the other winners of various awards include the following:

MVP award (best wrestler): Hiroshi Tanahashi

Outstanding Performance Award: Naomichi Marufuji

Fighting Spirit Award: Kaito Kiyomiya

Technique Award: Tetsuya Naito

Best Tag Team Award: Shuji Ishikawa and SUWAMA


What’s next?

Kenny Omega’s status as a wrestler remains uncertain as of this writing. He has officially confirmed that he will not be renewing his contract with New Japan Pro-Wrestling. This has created an explosive amount of speculation on his future, with the two biggest rumors that he will either join his fellow Elite friends in All Elite Wrestling (AEW), or he will join WWE.

If the latter becomes the case, there is a good chance WWE will make him a surprise entrant in this Sunday’s Royal Rumble event.

Whatever the future holds for Omega, one thing is for sure: wherever he goes next, his appearance there will bring a ton of publicity and intrigue to that promotion.

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