Male Wrestler Of The Year – HOWIE Awards 2020

It is time to reveal the shortlist for our penultimate 2020 HOWIE award. Today we ask our panel to give us their nominations for male wrestler of the year.

HOWIE

This is the ninth category of the first annual HOWIE Awards – celebrating the very best in wrestling in 2020. Read our writers picks and you, dear reader, can vote on an overall winner in our poll at the end of this story.

For today’s award we have asked our team to create a shortlist for the male wrestler of the year.

Over the rest of December we will be presenting our staff writers choices for ten different awards. At the same time we will offer you, our readers, the chance to vote on your pick from our shortlist. As well as that, why don’t you offer your alternatives via Twitter? Join the conversation by tagging us on @HO_Wrestling and using the hashtag #HOWIES20.

You can see the already announced categories to review and vote HERE. We will announce the overall reader voted winners on New Years Day.

Paul Benson, Hooked On Wrestling Tribal Chief

Shortlist Pick: Drew McIntyre

Drew McIntyre
Credit: WWE

This is actually a seriously tough question. In uniquely challenging circumstances, there have been a number of contenders who have massively raised their game without crowds in place.

The likes of Randy Orton and Seth Rollins have come roaring back with their best years in a long time. Over in AEW, Jon Moxley has covered himself in glory as a wonderful world champion and figurehead.

However in the end, this award simply has to go to Drew McIntyre. After reinventing himself in January as a confident, hard-hitting babyface, it was the last piece of the puzzle needed to make him a true main event star.

Since then he has carried WWE as their leading babyface superstar, looking like he is truly in this position for good rather than a fleeting experiment. His matches have been hard hitting and exciting in an old fashioned way.

The best thing is, it feels like he has even greater heights to reach once the fans are back in arenas to give him the backing he truly deserves.

Cameron Bennett, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor

Shortlist: Drew McIntyre

Oooo, I had a few options here. From Roman Reigns to Adam Cole, MJF to Kenny Omega. In the end I’ve had to settle on the big Scotsman in his breakout year.

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Starting with his victory at the Royal Rumble then his crowning moment at WrestleMania, his stellar rivalry with Randy Orton and finishing off with a fantastic match at Survivor Series with the aforementioned Roman Reigns. This is easily McIntyre’s best year in wrestling making him the year’s best male wrestler.

Chris Napier, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor

Shortlist: Tomohiro Ishii

Tomohiro Ishii
Credit: NJPW

Sure, I could pick Naito or Moxley or McIntyre who are clearly the champs who have defined the year in their respective companies, but Ishii is such an overlooked workhorse and I love his matches. This year he’s put on absolute bangers with Kazuchika Okada, Jay White, Kota Ibushi, Minoru Suzuki, Will Ospreay, Shingo Takagi (twice), Jeff Cobb and Hiromu Takahashi while also being a huge part of his CHAOS team’s run as Never Openweight Six Man Champs actually containing good matches. Almost never in the main event but the sheer consistency of good work deserves some acclaim. Make the Stone Pitbull IWGP champ in 2021!


Chris Hatch, Hooked On Wrestling Editor

Shortlist Chris Jericho

Chris Jericho
Credit: AEW

It’s well-trodden ground to talk about how he reinvents himself to keep up with the times, but he really does do that at the top level all the time. The matches may not get the stereotypical five stars for workrate all the time, but he can still hang with the best of them and more importantly make you feel whatever emotion he wants to during his matches.

Losing the AEW Championship to Mox at the start of the year didn’t dent his trajectory in the company, and that helps makes him the top guy despite ‘The Demo God’ celebrating his 30th anniversary in the wrestling business.


Liam Happe, Hooked On Wrestling Features Editor

Shortlist Pick: Drew McIntyre

Through a year in which very few wrestlers were able to raise their standing from what it was 12 months ago for obvious and understandable reasons, Drew has no doubt made things work. It will be interesting to see how much further he goes when live crowds, such as the one that roared him to victory live at the Royal Rumble and the packed HOW party in Glasgow that went viral, are back in play.

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Ash Rose, Editor, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor

Shortlist Pick: Drew McIntyre

Without question 2020 was the year that Drew went from WWE star, to WWE Superstar and credible main eventer. The Scotsman has hardly put a foot wrong since winning The Royal Rumble in January and has carried Raw through what has been the most difficult year in the company’s history.

Every aspect of McIntyre’s game has been enhanced, from promo skills to in ring performance and combined it’s created an aura that every great WWE Champion should have.


James Dee, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor

Shortlist Pick: Drew McIntyre

Yeah, call me a shill if you want but this has been unequivocally the year of the Scottish Psychopath. Others have been in the running, Rollins has had a masterful turn as The Monday Night Messiah, Orton has done his best work in years revisiting his Legend Killer gimmick and Roman Reigns has completely reinvented himself as the gaslighting Tribal Chief.

That’s just WWE, Jon Moxley shifted the paradigm in AEW winning the AEW World Title and topping PWI’s Wrestler of the Year. However McIntyre’s year started strong and stayed that way. After a masterfully booked Royal Rumble which saw Brock Lesnar essentially alone in the ring for half the match McIntyre emerged and with a single Claymore Kick changed his destiny.

From Chosen One, to 3MB, to his firing and re-establishment on the indies, being re-hired, winning the NXT championship, stalling on the main roster, to wounding and conquering The Beast at the main event of WrestleMania and winning the biggest prize in the game, I defy you to not feel for his story and if nothing else it goes to truly show the benefits of growing a beard.


Justin Czerwonka, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor

Shortlist Pick: Drew McIntyre

For me this came down to Drew McIntyre and Jon Moxley. In the end, I decided to give it to McIntyre because of everything he accomplished this year. McIntyre won the Royal Rumble, main evented Wrestlemania against Brock Lesnar (and won), then went on and had a pretty dominant reign.

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It sucks that he couldn’t do it in front of a live crowd. McIntyre was getting over before the crowds went away, and I hope the crowd is still with him when they come back. McIntyre’s accomplishments for the year give him the edge for me.


Gary Tait, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor

Shortlist Pick: Drew McIntyre

I must go with my fellow Scotsmen here and say Drew Mcintyre, although Jon Moxley would be an awfully close second.

Drew started the year of with a win in the best Royal Rumble match we have had in years. He continued the momentum with winning the title from Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania and had some good feuds for the title and made the belt feel important again. He went undefeated for most of the year, only losing one TV match. He gets the nod over Moxley purely based on feuds alone, as Moxley never looked challenged until the Omega feud started.


Lewis Brown, Hooked On Wrestling Contributor

Shortlist Pick: Drew McIntyre

I promise this isn’t just about my own bias, being from the same town as him and all, but it’s hard to argue that McIntyre hasn’t made the best of an extremely bad situation.

After winning the Royal Rumble to earn his place at WrestleMania, I don’t think anyone would have expected the whole world to close down. As is usually the case with WWE, ‘the show must go on’ and with McIntyre at the helm, he helped keep the company and the weekly product afloat in uncertain times and deserves all the recognition we as the fans can offer him for that.

It was honestly a toss-up for me between him and Jon Moxley as both were in similar situations but that decision made by the Scottish pride in me.


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