Dave Meltzer’s 2022 Wrestling Observer Awards were released in this weekend’s edition of the Wrestling Observer and the results have led to plenty of discussion.
The active rewards are divided into two categories: A and B. The Category A awards (which, as the name implies, are the most significant) are voted on a points system for first, second, and third place using a 5-3-2 basis. Meanwhile, the Category B awards only take first place votes into consideration.
What’s notable about this year’s awards is that Meltzer himself usually comments on the Class A awards but not the Class B awards. However, for the 2022 awards, he made an exception.
The Class B awards include somewhat lesser awards such as “Feud of the Year”, “Best Box office Draw” “Worst Major Show”, “Best/Worst Gimmick”, Best Booker and Promoter of the Year.
It’s these last two awards that have generated plenty of discussion more than in previous years because AEW’s Tony Khan won both of them. However, the circumstances around what happened in 2022 made Khan an unusual win.
Dave Meltzer Comments on Tony Khan’s wins in 2022 Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards
After revealing the winner and the runners-up, Meltzer explained why he thinks that the fans voted (in his view) incorrectly for Tony Khan as Booker and Promoter of the Year.
“I usually don’t comment on this. And for the first six months of the year you can make the argument. But WWE and AEW as businesses were in the same position with one much larger but the clear-cut 1-2 in the world all year.
“However, it was WWE that grew all year while AEW did not do nearly as well in comparison over the last eight months. You can argue bad luck or injuries, but in a coach of the year award, one team doing so much better in comparison at the end as compared to the beginning, that coach is going to win. Injuries are part of the game and regrouping and rebounding from them are as well.
“A comparison of the promotion of the returns of Cody Rhodes, C.M. Punk and Kenny Omega is so greatly in one side’s favor. Yes, AEW did create an environment on television and PPV to have far more great matches, and while some of the WWE’s growth relates to the stadium shows, a lot also relates to the aura of Roman Reigns, which is a creative issue, and the Bloodline angle, which is booking, and the most effective long-term angle in years. While the angle got stronger in 2023 where it doesn’t count for this balloting, it was still the strongest in 2022.
“In addition, whether you are a fan of Bray Wyatt or not, that out of the box thinking building up his return was a huge short-term interest level success. Even if Paul Heyman and Reigns played a huge part in one story and Wyatt himself in the other, the overseeing guy is Levesque.”
After the issue was published, Meltzer took to Wrestling Observer Radio to discuss the reactions the awards (and his comments) received.
“I’ve already written what I said, some people are mad and look: it wouldn’t have been my choice. The first six months? Absolutely. The last six months? You know he had a lot thrown out there with the injuries and everything like that that happened but I just… I don’t know.”
For reference, Tony Khan won Booker of the Year with a total of 372 votes. The runners-up were Rossy Ogawa (STARDOM) with 327 points, Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque (WWE) with 183 points, and Gedo (NJPW) with 40 points.
For Promoter of the Year, Tony Khan won with 415. Dana White (UFC) came in second with 287 points, Rossy Ogawa came in third with 198 points, and Levesque came in fourth place with 86 points.
h/t WrestleTalk for the transcription