With the end of the year approaching, awards season have arrived. Since 1974, the Tokyo Sports Pro-Wrestling Awards have become a prestigious part of Japanese pro wrestling culture. New Japan Pro Wrestling was able to take home three awards, including the MVP, Best Bout and Technique awards.
For the fourth time in his career, Hiroshi Tanahashi has won the MVP Award. He won the G1 Climax earlier this year, wowing fans with his performances. This is the third time he has won the G1 and the first time since 2014 that he has won the MVP Award. He is only the third man to win four times. Antonio Inoki has won the most with six.
Speaking to Mr. Okamoto of the Tokyo Awards, Tanahashi expressed his thanks on winning the award. He also talked about ushering in a new era and hopefully taking his place next to Inoki.
"Okada and Naito were the previous two winners right? Naito won it twice in a row too yes? Since 2018 is the last competition of the Heisei era, I am technically the final champion of this era," Tanahashi stated. "If I win it next year, I will be the first champion of the next era and also win it twice in a row. I said before that I didn't expect to win it this year, but next year I'll definitely be victorious."
Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada won the Best Bout Award for the second year in a row. The bout that was chosen was the two out of three falls match at Dominion for the IWGP Championship. That is the first time in over two decades that two wrestlers have won back to back. As a result, New Japan has released that bout on NJPW World for free.
It was announced today that I've won "Best Bout" for my match at Dominion with Okada. From what I'm told it's the first time in 22 years the same pairing has won back to back awards. The last two were Misawa/Kobashi. Very, very humbled to be in that kind of company.— Kenny Omega (@KennyOmegamanX) December 13, 2018
Finally, Tetsuya Naito won the Technique Award. He joins other winners from New Japan including Omega and Shinsuke Nakamura.
Up next for this group of stars is Wrestle Kingdom 13. Omega will face Tanahashi for the IWGP World Title, Naito will battle Chris Jericho for the latter's IWGP Intercontinental Title and Okada will have a grudge match with Jay White. The show will air on January 4, 2019 from the Tokyo Dome on NJPW World and Fite starting at 3am ET / 12 am PT.