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2019 PW Awards: Wrestler of the Year

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2019’s wrestler of the year was a key player in New Japans’ Best of Super Juniors 26 and the G1 tournaments. Both of which were arguably the best in their history.

2019’s Wrestler of the year is Shingo “The Dragon” Takagi.

Shingo’s unique style made him stand out amongst his peers in NJPW. Shingo offers variety, a lot of his matches feel different.

His explosiveness allows him to keep the breakneck pace with guys like Will Ospreay, Taiji Ishimori and Dragon Lee.

His brute strength means he can stand toe-to-toe with established heavy hitters like Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii and Satoshi Kojima and not be bullied.

Star of the Jr. Tag Title match at Wrestle Kingdom, Shingo ran wild and showcased his power against SHO whom he would have an ongoing rivalry for the majority of the first half of 2019. Their aggressive exchanges were the highlight and the buzz of the Road to Dontaku tour which laid the groundwork for a great match on night one of the BOSJ.

Shingo looked a huge star from the start of the BOSJ until the end. Highlights included Shingo displaying tremendous fire and grit as the underdog against the heel tactics of Yoshinobu Kanemaru and TAKA Michinoku.

A MOTYC against Dragon Lee on night 8 was topped in the final against Will Ospreay. Losing his 96 matches without taking a fall streak in one of the most franticly paced, dramatic and heated matches of the year did Shingo no harm.

A move to the heavyweight ranks immediately followed with an enjoyable hard-hitting war with the veteran Satoshi Kojima, Shingo got back to winning ways and announced he wanted into the G1.

And what a welcome addition Shingo was to that tournament.

Competing with Tomohiro Ishii for status as MVP of the G1; Taichi, Jeff Cobb, Tetusya Naito and Goto had close to, if not, their best matches of the G1 against Shingo.

Shingo vs. Naito was a 5-star classic, Shingo went blow for blow with the now IWGP Heavyweight & IC champion and did not look out of place.

Shingo scored big wins over Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii (the NEVER Openweight champion at the time) in his two final G1 matches. Both matches had the heavy strikes you would expect and were of a high standard with Shingo and Hirooki Goto displaying great chemistry. They had another great match at Destruction at Kobe.

Shingo’s 2019 was filled with so many intense, powerful and explosive matches and he has already started 2020 with more of the same, having an awesome hoss tag match where he teamed with EVIL against Goto & Ishii at New Year’s Dash.

A run with the NEVER Openweight title seems certain in 2020

5 wrestlers I’d love to see Shingo face in 2020
– Kota Ibushi
– Hiroshi Tanahashi
– Kazuchika Okada
– Zack Sabre Jr.
– Katsuyori Shibata…. (a guy can dream, cant he?!)

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