We’re doing the Fight Game Media Awards a little differently this year. We’ve reshuffled the deck on the pro wrestling side and added new writers who have been writing consistently for this website, or who will become more prolific for us in 2022. We’re also breaking up the awards into multiple posts.
Next is the award for show of the year. But first, here’s the voting panel:
Sam Schipman: Contributor for Daily DDT and wrote her debut post for Fight Game Media
Mike Gilbert: Writes the Brace for IMPACT column and hosts the Brace for IMPACT podcast
Steven Conway: Writes about WWE for Fight Game Media
Skylar Russell: Writes about many different wrestling promotions for Fight Game Media
C.J. Tappin: Writes the Weekend Exit Survey for Fight Game Media and hosts the One Hour Broadway podcast
Scott Edwards Jr.: Writes the Five Star Joshi column for Fight Game Media and hosts the Five Star Joshi Show for Fight Game Media Network +
Show of the Year
Sam Schipman: All Out
It is not hyperbole to say that All Out changed the landscape for AEW. This show had a stacked card including CM Punk’s first PPV match in seven years and a MOTY candidate with Lucha Bros vs. Young Bucks in a steel cage match. Ruby Soho made her not-so-surprise debut as “The Joker” in the Women’s Casino Battle Royale.
After Jon Moxley vs. Satoshi Kojima, Mox was surprised by the one and only Minoru Suzuki. That would not be the only surprise of the night.
The main event was Kenny Omega vs. Christian Cage. In the aftermath, The Elite jumped Cage. While Jurassic Express tried to come to his aid, a debuting Adam Cole superkicked Jungle Boy and celebrated with The Elite. Not to be outdone, Bryan Danielson made his unannounced AEW debut to align with Cage and Jurassic Express.
These debuts laid the foundation for what was to come for the rest of the year and set the tone for AEW year three.
Mike Gilbert: All Out
This show had it all; CM Punk’s first match since 2014, the surprise debuts of Bryan Danielson, Minoru Suzuki, and Adam Cole, plus one of the great tag team matches in company history, a steel cage match between the Young Bucks and the Lucha Brothers.
Steven Conway: Wrestle Kingdom 15 Night Two (1/5/21)
The final match with Kota Ibushi defeating Jay White told a brilliant story. Ibushi’s exhausted, tearful, triumphant exit was among the feel-good moments of 2021 in the business. That night also saw Hiromu Takahashi and Taiji Ishimori tear the house down. Plus, Shingo Takagi had a brilliant match with Jeff Cobb. Top to bottom, this was my favorite show to watch this year.
Skylar Russell: All Out
AEW’s All Out pay-per-view is easily the show of the year for me. The best wrestling shows in history don’t just feature great in-ring action, but also have undeniable atmospheres and the key element of surprise. Even though I attended Double Or Nothing 2021 in person, All Out still comes out as my favorite show of the year.
C.J. Tappin: All Out
It’s hard to look past AEW’s All Out. It maybe wasn’t as good as Full Gear was bell-to-bell but it was more important. You had the first CM Punk match since the 2014 Royal Rumble and the forever-legendary double-debut of Adam Cole and Bryan Danielson to close it out. Highlight bouts include Miro vs. Eddie Kingston and Kenny Omega vs Christian Cage. Wrestling isn’t always all about the moves, folks.
Scott Edwards Jr.: All Out
Imagine delivering on major expectations not once, not twice, but three times with stunning debuts that included Minoru Suzuki, Adam Cole, and Bryan Danielson. It’s almost as if the wrestling didn’t have to deliver for AEW All Out to be considered one of the best shows of the year, but the matches did too. The best of the best came from the steel cage match between the Young Bucks and the Lucha Brothers but there was also CM Punk’s in-ring return against Darby Allin and a slobberknocker of a fight between Miro and Eddie Kingston. AEW could have given the wrestling world one or two surprises but they decided to give the pro wrestling world countless memories that will live on for years to come.