The PWI Most Inspirational Wrestler of the Year Award, given yearly since 1972 by professional wrestling magazine Pro Wrestling Illustrated, recognizes the most inspirational professional wrestler of the year as voted by readers of the magazine. Bob Backlund, Hulk Hogan and Eddie Guerrero won this award twice.

Award winners and runners-up

Year Winner First runner-up Second runner-up Third runner-up
1972 Lord Alfred Hayes . . .
1973 Johnny Valentine . . .
1974 Dick Murdoch . . .
1975 Mike McCord . . .
1976 Bruno Sammartino Wahoo McDaniel Bob Roop Bob Armstrong
1977 Bob Backlund Don Muraco Bruno Sammartino Terry Funk
1978 Blackjack Mulligan Bruno Sammartino Mr. Wrestling II Jim Brunzell
1979 Chief Jay Strongbow Ric Flair Mr. Wrestling II Dusty Rhodes
1980 The Junkyard Dog Ricky Steamboat Verne Gagne Mr. Florida (Paul Jones)
1981 Bob Backlund Ted DiBiase Tito Santana Mr. Wrestling II
1982 Roddy Piper Jimmy Snuka Mil Máscaras Jimmy Valiant
1983 Hulk Hogan Roddy Piper Buzz Sawyer Buddy Rose
1984 Sgt. Slaughter Kerry Von Erich Kevin Von Erich Bob Backlund
1985 Mike Von Erich Paul Orndorff Jim Duggan Kevin Von Erich
1986 Chris Adams Magnum T.A. Kerry Von Erich Steve Williams
1987 Nikita Koloff Dynamite Kid Chris Adams "Superstar" Billy Graham
1988 Jerry Lawler Kerry Von Erich Road Warrior Animal Jake Roberts
1989 Eric Embry Nikita Koloff Billy Jack Haynes Ric Flair
1990 Sting Hulk Hogan Jerry Lawler Nikolai Volkoff
1991 The Patriot Jerry Lawler Sid Justice Bill Dundee
1992 Ron Simmons The Undertaker Ricky Steamboat Eric Embry
1993 Cactus Jack Lex Luger The 1-2-3 Kid Brutus Beefcake
1994 Bret Hart Terry Funk The Guardian Angel Dave Sullivan
1995 Barry Horowitz Sabu Antonio Inoki Dan Severn
1996 Jake Roberts Jushin Liger Ahmed Johnson Rey Misterio, Jr.
1997 Terry Funk Steve Austin Perry Saturn Roddy Piper
1998 Goldberg Steve Austin Mankind Shane Douglas
1999 Hulk Hogan Bret Hart X-Pac Jim Duggan
2000 Booker T Mick Foley Crash Holly Chyna
2001 Kurt Angle Chris Jericho Shane McMahon Spike Dudley
2002 Eddie Guerrero Hulk Hogan Shawn Michaels Chris Benoit
2003 Zach Gowen Kurt Angle A.J. Styles Rey Mysterio
2004 Eddie Guerrero Chris Benoit Eugene William Regal
2005 Chris Candido Matt Hardy Steve Williams Rey Mysterio
2006 Matt Cappotelli Rey Mysterio Hardcore Holly CM Punk
2007 Jeff Jarrett CM Punk John Cena Sting
2008 Ric Flair CM Punk John Cena Jeff Hardy
2009 Ricky Steamboat Tommy Dreamer Sting John Cena
2010 Shawn Michaels Kurt Angle John Cena Rob Van Dam
2011 Rosita Gregory Iron Rob Fury CM Punk
2012 Jerry Lawler Austin Aries Shawn Daivari John Cena
2013 Darren Young Dallas Page Daniel Bryan
2014 Daniel Bryan Eric Young Chris Melendez Bo Dallas
2015 Bayley John Cena Kevin Owens Sami Zayn
2016 Cody Rhodes Seth Rollins Dean Ambrose
2017 Christopher Daniels John Cena Shane McMahon Mia Yim
2017 Roman Reigns Cody Rhodes Tommy Dreamer LuFisto

See also

Pro Wrestling Illustrated
Current PWI Adwards
Wrestler of the Year Tag Team of the YearMatch of the YearFeud of the YearMost Popular Wrestler of the YearMost Hated Wrestler of the YearMost Improved Wrestler of the YearMost Inspirational Wrestler of the YearRookie of the YearStanley Weston AwardComeback of the YearWoman of the Year
Discontinued Awards
Manager of the YearMidget Wrestler of the YearAnnouncer of the Year
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