Welcome everyone to the official announcement of the winners of the Count Out! 2020 Year End Awards! Nominees were chosen by the Count Out team, all of which you can read here, and the winners were voted on by you! We are so happy to have put this together, and admittingly, this is probably really late into 2021 to be announcing this but hey, there's a first time for everything and we'll be back next year with a bug fixes galore.
But until then, let's go through and announce the winners of our 2020 Year End Awards.
Male Wrestler of the Year
Jon Moxley - 30% of the vote
2nd Place: Kenny Omega
3rd Place: Drew McIntyre
After rejecting Chris Jericho's invitation to join the Inner Circle, Jon Moxley would go on to defeat PAC to become the #1 Contender and win the AEW World Championship at Revolution. Soon after, COVID became known in the United States, forcing Moxley off television for a number of months. But that did not stop Moxley. He would successfully defend his title against Jake Hager, Mr. Brodie Lee, Brian Cage, Darby Allin, MJF, Eddie Kingston, Lance Archer. At Winter is Coming on December 2, Moxley lost the AEW World Championship, ending his 277 days as champion.
Moxley's title reign was the cornerstone of AEW's 2020. And with Jon Moxley, he made sure that the AEW World Championship meant something. A title is only as meaningful as those it is defended against, and it was defended against the best in AEW. The title here didn't make Jon Moxley, Moxley made the AEW World Championship.
Female Wrestler of the Year
Io Shirai - 30% of the vote
2nd Place: Sasha Banks
3rd Place: Thunder Rosa
After an injury sidelined her at the beginning of the year, Io Shirai returned and jumped right into the title picture. She won a ladder match making her the #1 Contender for the NXT Women's Championship. After cashing-in that opportunity against champion Charlotte Flair and winning via DQ, Shirai would finally win the title at NXT TakeOver: In Your House, defeating Flair and Rhea Ripley. Shirai defended her title against Tegan Nox, Dakota Kai, and Candice LeRae and continues to hold onto the NXT Women's Championship as of this article's posting.
Despite a seemingly quiet reign, Io Shirai made a huge moment for not just her, but for Joshi fans around the world, especially when she won the title. Shirai's 2020 showed why she was the best in an already stacked NXT Women's Divison. How much longer will she be able to hold onto the title?
Tag Team of the Year
Kenny Omega & Adam Page - 40% of the vote
2nd Place: Sasha Banks & Bayley
3rd Place: FTR
Winning the AEW Tag Team Championships on the Jericho Crusie in January, Kenny Omega and Adam Page went on to literally tear through the AEW Tag Team Divison, successfully defending the titles 9 times against all different teams. They had a match of the year at Revolution and opened Dynamite with stellar matches with many teams. In September, Kenny Omega and Adam Page would lose the AEW Tag Team Championship and quickly dissolved.
In one of our few blowouts, Kenny Omega and Adam Page felt like a lock for 2020. Like Moxley, Omega and Page were the cornerstones of AEW's Tag Team Divison, giving the opportunity to showcase the depth in the division. As a unit, they were hard-hitting, had great tag team moves, and gelled great together. The question is will we ever see them again?
Independent Wrestler of the Year
WARHORSE - 26.3% of the vote
2nd Place: Blake Christian
3rd Place: Chris Bey
NO PERSON DESERVES THIS MORE THAN WARHORSE!
WARHORSE continued his IWTV Independent Wrestling Championship reign as much as he could during the Covid pandemic, defending the title a total of 22 times against 33 different wrestlers. On top of that, he challenged Cody Rhodes for the TNT Championship live on Dynamite.
This was an incredibly close category and WARHORSE edged out the victory at the very last second. His 2020 stayed consistent with his past years and that consistency works. He is one of the most popular wrestlers on the independent scene and his matches have been stellar. When the pandemic ends, expect WARHORSE to continue his domination.
Promotion of the Year
AEW - 65% of the vote
2nd Place: NJPW
3rd Place: NXT
What can you say about All Elite Wrestling here? They continued to excel in the Wednesday Night Wars, continuing to cement their foothold in wrestling. They signed a new multi-year deal with TNT and even expanded their audience at times, reaching a million viewers at different parts of the year. They launched their action figure line, they announced multiple video games and I'm sure are making tons of money. They were the first wrestling promotion to test their wrestlers for Covid. In a year that turned the whole wrestling world on its head, AEW was able to stay the course and have an incredible year in wrestling.
Match of the Year from a Major Promotion
The Young Bucks vs. Page & Omega at AEW Revolution - 31.6% of the vote
2nd Place: WALTER vs. Ilja Dragunov at NXT UK
3rd Place: Kazuchika Okada & Kota Ibushi at Wrestle Kingdom 14 Night 1
In February, The Young Bucks and Omega & Page put on a 5-star classic in tag team wrestling. A match that wasn't just about the hard-hitting, fast-paced, PWG style of wrestling, but about the story between these four men. A story about friendship and betrayal, love and pain. No this isn't a romance novel, but the emotions of this match mixed with amazing athletic abilities connected with their audience so well, it earned our top spot.
Match of the Year from a Minor/Independent Promotion
Jon Moxley vs. Chris Dickinson at Bloodsport - 22.2% of the vote
2nd Place: Go Shiozaki vs. Takashi Suguira at Final Chronicle
3rd Place: Jonathan Gresham vs. Lee Moriarty at Joey Janela's Spring Break 4
In Indiana, the independent world was able to finally see Jon Moxley compete at Bloodsport. After Covid delayed the event, the Collective came back with a vengeance and put on a main event like no other at Josh Barnett's Bloodsport. Originally, Mox was set to face Barnett himself, and no offense to him, but Dickinson seems like quite the upgrade. And what a match it was. This match felt like your old New Japan type match. Two guys wanting to prove to the entire globe why they are in this sport. The entertainment was their fight and they were going until the 3 count.
Breakout Star of the Year
Brodie Lee - 45% of the vote
2nd Place: Orange Cassidy
3rd Place: Blake Christian
What makes a Breakout Star? To this writer, it is the one person that everyone says has the potential to make it big, they just need to escape from their spot and be given something new to prove they are who we all think they can be. And no other person did that more literally than the late great Brodie Lee. Lee was a wrestler in WWE that for years, was not given his fair shake. Wrestling fans everywhere saw his talent, his passion, his abilities within him, but were unable to see it weekly on television. It wasn't until his contract ran out and joining AEW that allowed Brodie Lee to shine like the star he was meant to be. An amazing PPV main event with Jon Moxley, the decimation of Cody Rhodes and the TNT Championship, and the rebirth of the Dark Order. Brodie Lee not only showcased his talents but helped make new stars along the way. He finally broke out.
The Lemonade Award
AEW's Brodie Lee Memorial Episode - 70% of the vote
2nd Place: Eddie Kingston's ICW Promo/Potential Retirement to TNT Title Shot to AEW Contract
3rd Place: Banks & Bayley carrying WWE's Women's Divison during the COVID Summer
After a year like 2020, we here at Count Out! wanted to give praise to something that was able to make it through the slush and come out better. They were many great options but no option was a more obvious recipient than AEW's Brodie Lee Memorial Episode. In what will go down as one of the greatest television episodes of wrestling, AEW gave us the fans, but more importantly the Huber family, a chance to laugh, cry, and mourn over the fallen wrestler. I don't know about you but the week following Brodie Lee's death left me with confusion, anger, sadness, and I am just a fan. I have no relationship with Brodie Lee other than what talent he chose to show with me and everyone else. But the connection was real and it was unexpectedly severed. But after Dynamite, my emotion simply washed away. I felt bliss. A title change fills me with excitement and a swerve does the same, but this was the first time in my years of watching wrestling where I felt peace. And I suspect you all did too. Only wrestling can provide that and Tony Khan and all of AEW succeed in memorializing a great man. Rest in Peace.