Tokyo Sports have unveiled the winners of their prestigious annual awards for 2020, with New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s Tetsuya Naito winning big!
Naito claimed two awards from the publication: The Best Bout award for his match with Kazuchika Okada on Night 2 of Wrestle Kingdom 14 – which saw the Los Ingobernables De Japon leader capture the IWGP Heavyweight Championship for the third time – as well as the MVP award for his retention of both the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships for the majority of the year.
This marks the third time Tetsuya Naito has picked up the MVP award, having been awarded Tokyo Sports’ top prize in both 2016 and 2017 when he won the New Japan Cup and G1 Climax respectively. Meanwhile, Okada wins the Match of the Year award for the eighth time – tying him second with Kenta Kobashi for most wins of the award overall. Genichiro Tenryu is the only individual to have won it more times, with nine.
Hiromu Takahashi was the only other NJPW star to be recognised, winning the Fighting Spirit award after rebounding from his major neck injury. Outside of New Japan: Sugiura-Gun’s Takashi Sugiura & Kazushi Sakuraba picked Best Tag Team, Go Shiozaki of Pro Wrestling NOAH won Outstanding Performance, DDT’s Tetsuya Endo claimed the Technique Award and Giulia of Stardom won the Women’s Wrestling Grand Prize.
Interestingly, the Newcomer Award was not handed out for the first time since 2015. Tokyo Sports have claimed this is due to the COVID-19 pandemic limiting the number of shows allowed to take place this year, hence making it difficult to determine new stars who have broken out. To balance out next year’s version of the award, the publication will take stars who debuted between 2017 and 2021 into account.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest NJPW news, and wrestling news from Japan in general, right here at Inside The Ropes.