Total Votes: 64
The Mitsuharu Misawa Award
Keiji Mutoh was finally dethroned as Dick Togo wins the Mitsuharu Misawa Award. Dick Togo had his "Japanese Retirement" in 2011, and then embarked on a world-wide wrestling tour, the definition of spreading the Puroresu Love. In the first half of 2011, Dick Togo had a great run of matches to end (for now) his career in Japan, including selling out Sumo Hall against Gedo in his final match in Japan. For the rest of 2011, Togo wrestled around the world, including having matches in the United States, Mexico, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Australia, Finland, England, and Italy. Togo took being an ambassador to puroresu to a whole new level in 2011, and will continue going into 2012 to show people on a global scale what puroresu is all about.
Hiroshi Tanahashi's 2011 can only be described as "epic." After winning back the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in the main event at the Tokyo Dome on January 4th, Tanahashi held the title for the rest of the year. But Tanahashi didn't coast, he was a fighting champion as he set a New Japan record by defending the title ten times in one year. In those ten fights he defeated the best that New Japan had to offer, including Kojima, Nagata (twice), Nakamura (twice), Goto, Giant Bernard, Naito, and Minoru Suzuki. Few wrestlers in puroresu history have had a year like Tanahashi did in 2011, making him an easy winner for 2011 Wrestler of the Year.
Second Place: Jun Akiyama (10 votes)
Tag Team of the Year
Once again, wrestlers from a smaller promotion get the award over the New Japan powerhouse tag team. Sekimoto and Okabayashi won this award for their success in two promotions - their home Big Japan as well as in All Japan. They won the All Asia Tag Team Championships twice, with both wins over All Japan wrestlers Seiya Sanada and Manabu Soya. They also had three successful defenses of the titles, showing they were no fluke. Over in Big Japan, Sekimoto and Okabayashi won the Maximum Tag League beating Jun Kasai and "Black Angel" Jaki Numazawa. Besides their title/tournament wins, they also put on great matches and had one of the biggest feuds of the year in All Japan, helping them take home the award for Big Japan.
Second Place: Giant Bernard and Karl Anderson (10 votes)
Sentiment may have played a big role in this award, as Daichi Hashimoto barely edged out All Japan wrestler Manabu Soya by one vote. Hashimoto left quite an impact on voters even though he had no notable wins in 2011, as he is the son of the late great Shinya Hashimoto. He did however show his potential in battles against Masahiro Chono, Keiji Mutoh, Big Van Vader, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, and Yoshihiro Takayama. The sky appears to be the limit for Hashimoto, and if he can continue to grow as a wrestler he may be a force to be reckoned with for many years to come.
Second Place: Manabu Soya (13 votes)
New Japan wins the Promotion of the Year for the fourth straight year.... will a promotion step up to top them? New Japan remains the best promotion for their popular wrestlers and great matches. They also still have the biggest event of the year (Tokyo Dome) and the most popular tournament (G1 Climax). All Japan did do much better this year however, and if their momentum can continue they may give New Japan a run for their money in 2012.
Second Place: All Japan (9 votes)
This was the main reason that Sekimoto/Okabayashi won the Tag Team of the Year Award - they had some great matches with Sanada and Soya. Big Japan and All Japan had a small feud in 2011, and no one benefited more than these two pairings. Not only were the matches they had good, but they were full of determination and emotion that everyone wants to see if their wrestling matches. Their match in April was considered by some one of the best matches of the year, and the feud will likely continue as the Big Japan team ended 2011 as the All Asia Tag Team Champions.
Second Place: New Japan vs. CHAOS (12 votes)
Nothing brings NOAH and All Japan voters together like a first time inter-promotional match for a major title. Of course, besides being unique it was also a damn good match. The two heavyweights really laid into each other, and the crowd was enjoying every moment of it. It was also a big moment as Akiyama finally won the All Japan Triple Crown for the first time. The level of the match combined with the high quality of the match made it an" easy" winner for the Puroresu Central Awards.
Second Place (tied): Daisuke Sekimoto and Yuji Okabayashi vs. Manabu Soya and Ryota Hama, Big Japan on April 28th (7 votes)
Event of the Year
The Tokyo Dome was finally dethroned, but for a good cause - ALL TOGETHER. ALL TOGETHER was a card put on by all the major promotions to help raise money after the deadly Tsunami the April before. The event featured the big stars of Japan, including a first time match pairing Kenta Kobashi and Keiji Mutoh as well as a six man match teaming the champions of New Japan, All Japan, and NOAH together. Of course the event sold out, and the crowd enjoyed seeing their favorite stars as they had not seen them before. The event did not have any five star matches, but overall it was a very unique and entertaining show.
Second Place: New Japan "WRESTLE KINGDOM V IN TOKYO DOME" on January 4th (13 votes)
Tenzan returned in late 2010 from a plethora of injuries, and wrestled for the entire year of 2011 as he finally seemed to be healthy for the first time in years. While he didn't win any titles, just being healthy was a big deal for Tenzan. He did successfully get revenge over his nemesis Iizuka however, as he defeated him both at the Tokyo Dome and a second time in the New Japan Cup. In November, he had a huge win over Kojima, showing that he was back to his old form, and surprised many when he ended the year with a win over Giant Bernard. Even though Tenzan is not on the level he was a decade ago, in 2011 he proved that he is not done quiet yet.
For an Open Award, Togo didn't have a lot of competition here. Togo stepped up in a big way in 2011. As he did his Japanese Retirement Tour, he wasn't slacking off, but putting on some of the best matches of his career. Obviously there is some sentimental voting here, but he really did work his ass off in 2011 to go out on a high note. His matches against Honda and Gedo were both highly though of, both being in many fan's Top 20 list for 2011. In a way this is a lifetime achievement award, but Dick Togo has earned it.
Suzuki wins this award as he was very successful in 2011 but you don't hear a lot of buzz about him. In 2011, Suzuki defended his GHC Jr. Heavyweight Championship successfully seven times, and also won the GHC Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. On top of that, he won the Nippon TV Cup Jr. Heavyweight Tag League as he teamed with Aoki. So clearly, Suzuki deserves some respect, which hopefully he will get in 2012.