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2015 PW Awards

2015 PW Awards: Promotion of the Year

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Promotion of the Year: NXT

“I know that NJPW has been unbelievable this year, but without a doubt I have to go with NXT. You know that if there is a NXT Takeover event, you are in for one of the best shows each and every time. In 2015, they went from hosting shows over and over in Full Sail University, to becoming a traveling brand, to selling out Wembley Stadium and the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. The quality of their shows, the quality of their talent, and the quality of their growth in 2015 easily puts NXT on top of my list as Promotion of the Year. Side note… I think it’s about time we stop calling them “developmental.” This could be a standalone promotion, without WWE’s stamp, and I think it would still be a top promotion.” – Chris Langevin

“NXT cuts straight to the point. The wrestling is better, it’s two hours or less with no wasted moments to talk about the WWE app or the network and the creative team actually knows how to build a likeable story.” – Alex Reno

“I vote NXT, not to be smarky, or wave my IWC flag. Simply put, NXT has come a long damn way in the last couple of years, and that deserves continued recognition. It’s an alternative to RAW and Smackdown without venturing outside of the company lines. Big names are stopping in NXT, and some superstars are even rumored to prefer their NXT spot to a promotion to the main roster. It’s a bright spot for professional wrestling in 2015.” – Matt Addie

“Lucha Underground may have taken this one for me if I watched the whole season. Admittedly, my cable provider didn’t pick up El Rey until mid-season so I only got to see the first few episodes (at my Mom’s house – dedication homie) and eventually the last half at my humble abode – it all blew my mind. I’m beyond pumped for season 2 and I cannot wait to see what our own @shewatcheslucha has in store for us on the site in 2016. For me, this was the year of NXT. This is where we got the best women’s wrestling (I still can’t get over what Bayley and Banks did for us in-ring) the best specials (TakeOver has never failed us) and the best weekly programming (FF and NXT never get mentioned in the same sentence). 20, 10, maybe even 5 years from now we’ll be talking about how important Triple H was to WWE and the overall state of professional wrestling. NXT may not last forever, but it may end up saving a product that has become dangerously stale on the big stage. If NXT never became what it is today how would you feel about the future of WWE?” – Dave Reno

“Phenomenal success during 2015, the key is whether they can sustain that success over the longer term once this class of characters have graduated.” – Stephen Gutteridge

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Runner Up: Lucha Underground

“Lucha Underground is the only promotion that never once made me ask “why are they doing this?” You always knew why. Great storytelling, great characters, great wrestling, and a long enough break to make me actually miss it. Brilliant!” – Lady J

“I don’t think anyone is surprised that i would pick LU as the promotion of the year, however I will be legitimately surprised if everyone else doesn’t pick them. I am a life long wrestling fan, however recently I have found myself losing interest in what the bigger promotions have to offer. Along comes Lucha Underground and saves my love of professional wrestling. The story lines are amazing, smart and cohesive. They continue with well though thought out characters and are seen to a logical conclusion. The characters are over the top, yet engaging, provoking and entertaining. Even the guys that come in for one or two fights have a back story and are engaging. The wrestlers are not new comers and commentary acknowledges that. Speaking of commentary, listening to two men who know and love this industry, instead of cracking one liners or ignoring the in ring competition is refreshing. Everything about LU, from its amazing production, to its backstage vignettes, and jaw dropping matches, week after week is what everyone wishes the other promotions were.” – Andrea Mitchell

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Honorable Mention: ROH/NJPW

“Some 12 years ago, the future of New Japan was in doubt and the Japanese wrestling scene as a whole completely plummeted. A combination of over saturation of the market and political disputes left the once booming Japanese market a shell of itself. Even legendary promoter Antonio Inoki, who built the promotion for 32 years, sold the promotion to the Yuke’s video game company (yes, the same one that made those Smackdown games we all love to play) in 2005. Eventually, the company was purchased by Naoki Sugabayashi, who owns a profitable trading card company and the combination of wrestling veterans, Jado and Gado were hired as the booker. Fast forward to 2015, the Bullet Club is the most popular stable in the world, the company broadcast a live PPV in America and they have a TV on Axis in the United States.” – Jim LaMotta

“Ring of Honor was just too much fun this year. Jay Lethal’s reign, Dalton Castle’s emergence as a star, Roderick Strong’s capture of the ROH Television Championship, Adam Cole’s return, the list of the just incredible things Ring of Honor was able to get out of the talent in their promotion was incredible.” – Ryan Mathews

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