2019 turned out to be one of the most eventful years in pro wrestling in more than a decade. All Elite Wrestling launched, NXT moved up from being a developmental territory to WWE's third brand, new faces like Becky Lynch, Kofi Kingston, and Bray Wyatt climbed to new heights, and smaller companies like the NWA and Impact Wrestling made it to where there's a new wrestling show available almost every night of the week.
And thanks to the overwhelming enthusiasm from our readers, we've decided to add five wrestling categories to the annual Golden Issue Awards — Male Wrestler of the Year, Female Wrestler of the Year, Tag Team of the Year, Match of the Year, and Best Rising Star. But unlike the other awards, we kept the panel of voters down to the 10 members of the ComicBook staff who either write about wrestling every day or follow it on a weekly basis.
Check out the complete list of nominations and winners for the 2019 Golden Issue Wrestling Awards below!
- Kofi Kingston
- Adam Cole
- Chris Jericho
- Bray Wyatt
- Cody Rhodes
- Will Ospreay
It took 11 years of toiling in the WWE's midcard and tag division, but Kingston finally reached main event status in 2019 by beating Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 35. As the first African-born world champion in company history, Kingston went on to hold the title for six months before dropping it in October. He then turned around and started his ninth tag title reign (and the New Day's seventh), which helped him set a new record by becoming the first man to hold tag team championship gold for more than 1,000 combined days.
- Becky Lynch
- Sasha Banks
- Shayna Baszler
- Io Shirai
"The Man" won in a landslide, and it's easy to see why. After winning the Women's Royal Rumble, Lynch made history alongside Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair by becoming the first women to main event WrestleMania, culminating in Lynch winning both the Raw and SmackDown Women's Championships simultaneously. She then went on to hold the Raw title throughout the rest of 2019, setting a new record for longest reign, main eventing two pay-per-views and having a Match of the Year contender with Sasha Banks at Hell in a Cell.
- The Young Bucks
- The Undisputed Era
- The New Day
- The Kabuki Warriors
Technically Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish were the tag team of the group, but since the faction operated together so often and had such a big year we're adding in Adam Cole and Roderick Strong, too. The group utterly dominated NXT in 2019 with numerous standout matches and made history by winning all three of the brand's top titles.
- Kofi Kingston vs. Daniel Bryan (WrestleMania 35)
- Cody Rhodes vs. Dustin Rhodes (Double or Nothing)
- Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks (Hell in a Cell)
- Walter vs. Tyler Bate (NXT TakeOver: Cardiff)
- Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay (G1 Climax)
- Aleister Black, Ricochet and Velveteen Dream vs. Adam Cole, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa (Halftime Heat)
- Matt Riddle vs. Roderick Strong (NXT TakeOver: XXV)
All Elite Wrestling needed their first official pay-per-view to be an absolute knockout, and while many expected Omega vs. Jericho to be a clash of two titans, what wound up stealing the show was an emotional and shockingly violent bout between the Rhodes brothers. For Dustin, the match was seen as one last ride in the twilight of his career. For Cody, it was about "killing" the Attitude Era he felt had been weighing down his entire generation of wrestlers. The final result was a match that blew everyone's expectations out of the water and ended on the heartwarming moment with the two embracing each other.
- Keith Lee
- Rhea Ripley
- Darby Allin
For he is... limitless! Lee originally signed with WWE in early 2018, but it wasn't until the second half of 2019 that he was given the chance to shine as a wildly charismatic powerhouse. Every year this award will go to the wrestlers we believe will continue to rise up the card in the coming year, and all signs point to Lee becoming a staple of either Raw or SmackDown in 2020.