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2019 PW Awards: Heel of the Year

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Jay White, to me, is the most underrated wrestler in the world. It is startling to me that so many people think he’s not a good wrestler and I think some of that is actually a testament to just how good of a heel he is—his job is making you hate him and the way he wrestles is part of that. Also, he has a great moveset, he executes his moves extremely well (including moves that would be very dangerous if he didn’t), he’s incredibly quick, his counters and chain wrestling are unreal, and he does so many *little* things that raise the stakes and the drama subconsciously (including but not limited to his ability to wrestle *in character* which is an extremely undervalued skill but so important for a heel wrestler).

And maaan do people hate Jay White. People hate him so much that people headed for the exits after he beat Tetsuya Naito at Destruction In Kobe. People LOVE to hate him and some really just hate him to the point of not wanting him to be on their television. But he’s so good at this. I also think a lot of people would like him more if they watched his backstage interviews because he’s excellent on the mic. Not just clever and entertaining, he always knows exactly what story notes he wants to hit and always hits them. I talked in my reviews of the Kobe show as well as the Destruction Tour about this delightful Heath Ledger Joker motif he and Naito were doing with Jay telling Naito “you’re my destino” and the way both men were just enjoying “playing” with each other with all the mind games and paid it off with a Match of the Year candidate.

And Jay has had several MOTY candidates this year: both his matches with Naito, the G1 final with Ibushi, and his G1 match with Ishii. He did a great angle with Okada, revealing himself as the mole in Chaos, stealing Gedo and absconding to lead Bullet Club (the perfect role for Jay White) which deepened Okada’s post-Dominion identity crisis resulting in consecutive losses to Jay—including losing to him in 14 minutes at Wrestle Kingdom. Jay White beat Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, beat Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, headlined multiple major New Japan shows, and all while becoming the most hated man in wrestling.

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