Pro Wrestling Newsletters
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This is a list of both active and inactive Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards created by professional wrestling and mixed martial arts (MMA) journalist Dave Meltzer. The first fourteen awards were created in 1980 as an informal poll between Meltzer and his friends and others he corresponded with on the subject of professional wrestling at the time. After starting the Wrestling Observer in 1982, the awards took on a greater life, with an increasing number of awards given out every year.
The awards were created to recognize the individual achievements of a select few wrestlers who exemplified a specified criterion. The awards are given every year in various categories such as Wrestler of the Year, Most Outstanding Wrestler, Tag Team of the Year, Most Improved, Pro Wrestling Match of the Year, etc.; there are also a handful of awards to recognize the dubious distinctions in the business during that year such as Most Overrated and Worst Match. There are currently forty-five categories that are actively assessed every year and twenty that are no longer active. The awards are voted for by the newsletter's paying readership, primarily wrestling fans, although it is claimed that some industry workers also vote.
Over the years, various MMA promotions or individual mixed martial artists were deemed eligible to win some awards when it seemed as though they were more deserving to win than the conventional wrestler or wrestling promotion. This led to, in 1997, the creation of Shootfighter of the Year and Shoot Match of the Year to recognize MMA achievement specifically. Still, some primarily professional wrestling-focused awards remained intact for MMA promotions/fighters to win, due to the similar business aspect between both sports (i.e. Best Box Office Draw and Promotion of the Year). In the December 3, 2007 edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, it was announced that from that year onwards, mixed martial artists are no longer eligible for the Lou Thesz/Ric Flair Award, thus reserving it for professional wrestlers only. Shootfighter of the Year was renamed to Most Outstanding Fighter and Shoot Match of the Year was renamed to MMA Match of the Year to match a new award called Mixed Martial Arts Most Valuable, which is similar to the Lou Thesz/Ric Flair Award except it is for mixed martial artists.
The Wrestling Observer Newsletter (WON) Hall of Fame is a professional wrestling and mixed martial arts hall of fame that recognizes people who make significant contributions to their professions. It was founded in 1996 by Dave Meltzer, editor of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Like many other wrestling halls of fame, such as the WWE, Impact, ROH and WCW halls of fame, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame is not contained in a b