WWE Star of the Month - Kevin Owens
Last month's winner: Neville
Independent Wrestler of the Month - Trevor Lee
After months of coming up just short, Trevor Lee really busted out a noteworthy month in May by earning multiple huge victories. He kicked the month off by defeating Matt Hardy & CW Anderson to become the new OMEGA Champion. As if that wasn't big enough, he headed out to Southern California for PWG's DDT4 Tag Team Tournament where he teamed with Andrew Everett. The dynamic duo from North Carolina defeated Matt Sydal & Mike Bailey in the first round, Ricochet & Rich Swann in the second round, and The Beaver Boys in the final round to win the tournament and become the new PWG World Tag Team Champions. These are titles that have been held by the WWE Superstar of the Month for May, Kevin Owens, current NXT star Sami Zayn, Neville, and The Young Bucks among others. After a year of wreaking havoc on Reseda, Lee was finally able to gain some major ground in the form of a tournament win & a championship victory. I also can't forget to mention how he & Everett stole the show early in the month in a one on one match at CZW's Proving Grounds event. 2015 continues to be a big year for Trevor Lee.
Last month's winner: Mike Bailey
Female Wrestler of the Month - Candice LeRae (PWG, SMASH)
Last month's winner: Santana Garrett
Puroresu Star of the Month - KUSHIDA (NJPW, ROH)
I'm really stoked to be able to recognize KUSHIDA as the japanese wrestling star of the month because he's been so underrated for way too long. One half of the Time Splitters kicked off the month with a MOTY candidate bout with Roderick Strong on the first night of the ROH/NJPW joint shows in Philly. After performing on all four nights of those events, he returned to Japan where he took the BOSJ tournament by storm once again by taking an early lead in the rankings that, as we now know, would end up earning him a spot in the finals once again. As of this writing, he's kicked off June in phenomenal fashion by finishing his awe inspiring BOSJ run with a victory over Kyle O'Reilly in the finals. I think we can officially say that we're witnessing the ascension of KUSHIDA to the next level!
Last month's winner: Kota Ibushi
Workhorse of the Month - Roderick Strong (ROH/NJPW, PWG, EVOLVE, Progress)
Top 15 Matches of the Month
1) John Cena vs. Kevin Owens - WWE: Elimination Chamber
2) ROH ALL STARS vs Bullet Club - ROH/NJPW: Global Wars Night One
3) Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose - WWE: Monday Night Raw - 5/3/15
4) Johnny Mundo vs. Alberto El Patron - Lucha Underground - 5/6/15
5) Roderick Strong vs. KUSHIDA - ROH: War of the Worlds Night One
6) AJ Styles vs. Adam Cole - ROH: War of the Worlds Night One
7) Akira Tozawa vs. Shingo Takagi - Dragon Gate: King of Gate - 5/8/15
8) Angelico, Ivelisse, & Son of Havoc vs. The Crew - Ladder Match - 5/20/15
9) Roderick Strong vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi - ROH: War of the Worlds Night Two
10) Fenix vs. Mil Muertes - Death Match - Lucha Underground - 5/27/15
11) Mike Bailey vs. TJ Perkins - Evolve 43
12) Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards vs. Austin Aries & Bobby Roode - TNA: Impact - 5/29/15
13) New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) vs. Cesaro & Tyson Kidd - 2/3 Falls Match - WWE: Payback
14) Fenix vs. Cage vs. Mack vs. Pentagon Jr vs. Sexy Star vs. Killshot - Lucha Underground - 5/13/15
15) John Cena vs. Neville - United States Championship Match - WWE: Raw - 5/11/15
TNA Star of the Month - Eric Young
MOMENT OF THE MONTH - Samoa Joe debuts in WWE on NXT
ELITE 80 POINTS SYSTEM ANNOUNCEMENT
Last but certainly not least, I'd like to announce a new system I'm using to help create my Elite 80 Wrestlers of the Year list. For those who don't know, it's a list I began making during my year end awards last year where I rank the top 80 wrestlers of the year. Instead of having to go through and pick who I think deserves to be where like I've done in the past, I've developed a points system that I'm using to keep score throughout the year. Wrestlers get points for three star, four star & five star matches, winning titles, title defenses, memorable moments, social media trends, and for being awarded as a star of the month or being involved in a bout picked as the match of the month.
With that being said, I'll be releasing a list of who's in the Top 10 and how many points they have at the end of every Month in Review going forward. It begins now so wait no more, here's the first ever Elite 80 snap shot. These standings are as of May 31st so they very well could have already changed, but they still give you a good idea of who's in the lead.
ELITE 80 RANKINGS AS OF MAY 31ST:
1) Kota Ibushi - 97 points
2) John Cena - 85 points
3) Seth Rollins - 79 points
4) Roderick Strong - 75 points
5) AJ Styles - 69 points
6) Akira Tozawa - 60 points
7) Dean Ambrose - 59 points
8) Josh Alexander - 58 points
9) Hirooki Goto - 56 points
10) Daniel Bryan - 55 points
Originally, John Cena was leading the pack as Wrestler of the Year. His reign as US Champion with weekly defenses has helped him tremendously as he gets points for title defenses as well as quality matches almost every single week. THEN, I began catching up on Puro and watched as Kota Ibushi skyrocket to the top of this list after I recognized many of his matches with a four star rating or higher. That combined with his NJCup & DDT Title victories plus THREE Puro star of the month awards has made him the man to beat at the mid-year mark. He leads by a stout 12 point margin over John Cena. Seth Rollins is currently holding steady at third with Roderick Strong close behind. IWGP Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles rounds out the Top 5 with 69 points. With three of the men in the top five being world champions, they could easily knock Ibushi out of his top spot due to having title defenses however thus far, Ibushi has been producing as many quality matches as champions have title defenses so who knows!
The latter part of the Top 10 is extremely close with only five points separating the entire bunch. Dragon Gate's Open The Brave Gate Champion Akira Tozawa is holding down the #6 slot with Dean Ambrose's constant entertainment factor & match quality earning him the #7 spot only one point behind Tozawa. At #8 we have a groundbreaking athlete as Josh Alexander is the only man in the Top 10 who doesn't wrestle for a major promotion like WWE, ROH, TNA, or NJPW. It just goes to show how dominate and talented he is for him to be up there with such great company. The current IWGP IC Champion Hirooki Goto finds himself at #9 after defeating Shinsuke Nakamura for the belt at Invasion Attack and at #10 we have Daniel Bryan who will sadly continue to drop as the year goes on. It's such a bummer that he's unable to compete. He only wrestled for four months of this year and didn't even wrestle in the month of May yet he's still hanging on to a Top 10 ranking thanks to everything he did in the four months he was active. Get well soon, DB!
Final thoughts: Thanks for reading! I'm continuing to try and expand this column to make it more informative and cover as much pro wrestling as possible. In the end, I want it to be the place someone who's been behind on wrestling can come, catch up, and know what they need to check out from the month. Feel free to tweet me your thoughts on this month's piece as well as my new points system. When would you like updates on the rankings? Every month? Weekly? Does it interest you? Follow and tweet us on Twitter @ThePWTruth and let us know!