Tokyo Sports Puroresu Awards

Who Came Out On Top?

The Tokyo Sports Puroresu Awards have been announced and it’s finally time to see who is the best of the best in Japan’s top promotions. For the 11th year in a row, New Japan Pro Wrestling has taken home the MVP Award while they lost out for the first time in 5 years the Best Bout Award with the honor going to Pro Wrestling NOAH. All Japan Pro Wrestling made an appearance as did DDT and Tokyo Joshi Pro all picking up the awards for Outstanding Performance, Fighting Spirit, and Best Newcomer.
New Japan Pro Wrestling also picked up the awards for Technique and Best Tag Team at the Tokyo Sports Puroresu Awards while Stardom continued its dominance as the best women’s promotion in Japan by winning the Women’s Wrestling Grand prize. But which individuals were recognized by this institution of sport in Japan?

The Tokyo Sports Puroresu Awards

The MVP Award was given to Shingo Takagi of New Japan Pro Wrestling who despite being considered one of the greatest performers in Japan has never won this award before 2021. He beat out Keiji Mutoh for the award and it is rightly deserved after Takagi put New Japan on his back and navigated the company through more uncertain times in 2021.
Go Shiozaki vs Keiji Mutoh of Pro Wrestling NOAH beat out Shingo Takagi Vs Hiroshi Tanahashi of New Japan Pro Wrestling for the Best Bout Award at this year’s Tokyo Sports Puroresu Awards. NOAH has had a standout year and this is made clearer during the championship match between Shiozaki and Mutoh on 12th February at the Nippon Budokan.
Go Shiozaki vs Keiji Mutoh for NOAH
The Outstanding Performance Award was given to Jake Lee who has been with All Japan Pro Wrestling since 2011. This is his first time on the Tokyo Sports Puroresu Awards list in his ten-year career, four of which were spent in retirement due to injury.
Konosuke Takeshita was awarded the Fighting Spirit Award at this year’s Tokyo Sports Puroresu Awards. Along with putting on fantastic matches within DDT Takeshita also appeared in a tag team match alongside Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks and Micheal Nakazaua on an AEW event called ‘The House Always Wins’ taking on PAC, Penta El Zero Miedo, Rey Fenix Mike, and Matt Sydel. He previously won the Newcomer Award in 2013.
Konosuke Takeshita for DDT
The Technique Award this year was awarded to the Great-O-Khan of New Japan Pro-Wrestling, Khan returned to Japan in 2020 after an excursion in RevPro in the UK. He joins the likes of Tetsuya Naito, Kota Ibushi, KENTA, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Kenny Omega. This year he beat out fellow new Japan wrestler, Zack Sabre jr. for this award.
It’s been 10 years since New Japan Pro-Wrestling has won the Best Tag Team Award from Tokyo Sports but this year the wait is over for fans of the King of Sports. Dangerous Tekkers is made up of the Suzuki Gun combo of Taichi and Zack Sabre Jr. who have had many memorable reigns with the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships.
The Tokyo Sports Awards has a good history over the last seven years of highlighting Joshi wrestlers for their Best Newcomer Award and this year is no exception. Yuki Arai had had a phenomenal rookie year for Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling. She joins other highly praised women such as Utami Hayashishita, Chihiro Hashimoto, and Saki Akai who were the first women to win the award in 2014.
Utami Hayashishita of Stardom
The Women’s Wrestling Grand Prize was established in 1995 and has since highlighted some of the best Joshi wrestlers that Japan has had to offer. Utami Hayashishita of Stardom is no exception to this, receiving her second award from the Tokyo Sports Awards in less than three years. she joined the likes of Stardom alumni Io Shirai and Yuzuki Aikawa as well as legends such as Lioness Asuka, Meiko Satomura, and Emi Sakura. Hayashishita has only been a pro for around 3 years but she is already becoming one the best in Stardom and all around the world.
The Achievement Award this year has gone to the late great Rumi Kazama. She was a former wrestler and promoter who co-founded the promotion Ladies Legend Pro-Wrestling alongside Shinobu Kandori. Unfortunately, Kazama passed away on 21st September 2021 at the age of 55 after suffering from endometriosis, it hasn’t been made public if this was a factor in her passing. What she should be remembered for is her resistance and the mark she left on the industry inside and outside of the ring. The squared circle is her kingdom and it will remain that way.

Written by Amber McCrudden

Writer | Podcaster | Streamer | Photographer | Content Creator | Wrestling's Sweetheart

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