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Shingo Takagi Named Tokyo Sports 2021 MVP

Shingo wins the award

Having spent much of the year as IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, Shingo Takagi has been named the 2021 Tokyo Sports MVP award winner. The Dragon has had an impressive year, putting together widely-praised matches against Hiroshi Tanahashi, Will Ospreay, Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii and Zack Sabre Jr. alongside his long world title reign.

Tokyo Sports noted the picks for MVP came down to Takagi and Pro Wrestling NOAH's Keiji Muto, with Shingo picking up 14 out of 19 votes to win the award. 

Following his win, Shingo told NJPW's website:

"Thank you for voting me as MVP. I don't have the time here to really express how I feel, or how happy I am at the award, but to hear that the nominations were mainly for me and Keiji Muto, that shows that Yamanashi is churning out the best in Japan and the world, and that's pretty cool in my book. 

"Looking back on the year, just like in 2020, we had to live with COVID, and the challenges that presents. We all as pro-wrestlers had to put everything we have into doing what we could. We were still performing in front of half capacity buildings, and the fans weren't allowed to cheer. So it was up to us to express what they couldn't. We had to bring that heat and energy, we had to create that emotional connection with the fans there, and of course watching at home. That's what I was thinking in every single match.

"This year I was chosen as MVP, but I don't believe I did anything particularly different this year. It was business as usual, as far as I was concerned. Other people were saying 'it should be Shingo' but, y'know, this business is a lot like any other; sometimes luck and timing can make all the difference. Looking back, I guess that for all my talking about being fired up, this was the year that people bought into my conviction."

The full list of awards can be found below:

  • MVP: Shingo Takagi - NJPW
  • Best Tag Team: Dangerous Tekkers - NJPW
  • Best Match: Go Shiozaki vs. Keiji Muto - Pro Wrestling NOAH
  • Outstanding Performer: Jake Lee - AJPW
  • Technique: Great-O-Khan - NJPW
  • Fighting Spirit: Konosuke Takeshita - DDT
  • Joshi: Utami Hayashishita - Stardom
  • Rookie: Yuki Arai - Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling
  • Achievement: Rumi Kazama

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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Journalist/Editor-in-Chief of Cultaholic.com Twitter: @theaidangibbons