Tokyo Sports has named Hiroshi Tanahashi as the MVP Of The Year.
The publication released the names of the winners of their annual Tokyo Sports Puroresu Awards where Tanahashi won the MVP Award with eighteen votes. Kazuchika Okada was second in place with twelve votes and Kenny Omega in the third place with three votes.
Tanahashi gave the following statement after being selected as the winner of the MVP Award:
“It is I, 2018’s MVP Hiroshi Tanahashi. Since the final of the G1 Climax, I realized that I have once again become the center of the Wrestling world, whether it was during my fight over the challenger rights contracts or in the lead-up to WK13. I’ve been continually thinking about how to appeal to people who have never seen professional wrestling. In the past, Pro-Wrestling was more broadly known in Japanese culture. The broadcast of “World Pro-Wrestling” every Friday at 8.00pm gave the public the chance to see legends such as Mr. Inoki, Mr. Choshu and Mr. Fujinami come to local gymnasiums and has made Pro-Wrestling more famous as a result. Since I first became champion in 2006, I’ve often said the mic after headlining the main event “Thank you very much for today” or “I love you!” and performed air guitar. There have been some fans, however who have felt “Why is he saying things like that?” but I’ve always tried to reply “I will be f-ing famous!” by demonstrating my in-ring ability. This year, I think, was the first year I actually achieved that goal. Although it is still only half-way through it’s run, movie I starred in has exceeded 100 promotional events and 1,000 media spotlights. It showed the passion of professional wrestling and was able to connect with the general public nationwide. From influencers in the business world to famous people, I’ve spoken to numerous people now who have felt that “Pro-Wrestling is really fun!” I’ve always strived to achieve my goal of “It would be great if I could be famous!” I didn’t expect to win the MVP award, so I’m pleasant surprised. Thank you very much.”
Tanahashi has won the award three times before, first in 2009, then in 2011 and in 2014.
Mr. Okamoto of Tokyo Sports explained that the reason for selection of Tanahashi as the winner was his G1 Climax tournament victory, which served as a deciding factor. Another reason cited was the fact that Tanahashi is helping aleviate the image of professional wrestling in Japan by starring in movies and TV shows.
This is also the sixth straight year a wrestler from New Japan Pro-Wrestling has won the award.
Additionally, the Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega match for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-Jo Hall was awarded the Best Bout Award.
“Thank you. Since I have won the this award many times, please enter me into the Hall of Fame,” said Kazuchika Okada on his match winning the prize.
“We’ve done it for the second consecutive year. Even though there is a feeling that the story of Okada and I has ended after having four matches in a year and a half, I want to do it again someday,” Kenny Omega. “These matches have pushed me to the best physical condition of my life and wee were able to accomplish special things together. I’ve been able to combine that classic New Japan style with unpredictable newness. With the upcoming ideological clash at Wrestle Kingdom, we will prove that there is a home for every type of wrestling.”
Here is the list of all the awards and their recipients:
- MVP Award
Hiroshi Tanahashi (New Japan Pro-Wrestling)
- Best Bout Award
Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega
(New Japan Pro-Wrestling)
- Outstanding Performance Award
Naomichi Marufuji (Pro Wrestling Noah)
- Fighting Spirit Award
Kaito Kiyomiya (Pro Wrestling Noah)
- Technique Award
Tetsuya Naito (New Japan Pro-Wrestling)
- Best Tag Team Award
Shuji Ishikawa and Suwama (All Japan Pro Wrestling)
- Newcomer Award
Utami Hayashishita (World Wonder Ring Stardom)
- Joshi Puroresu Grand Prize
Tsukasa Fujimoto (Ice Ribbon)