The PWI Most Popular Wrestler of the Year Award, given yearly since 1972 by professional wrestling magazine Pro Wrestling Illustrated, recognizes the best face professional wrestler of the year as voted by readers of the magazine. Sting and John Cena have won this award a record four times, while Rob Van Dam was the only wrestler to win the award while competing as a heel.

Award winners and runners-up

Year Winner First runner-up Second runner-up Third runner-up
1972 Jack Brisco / Fred Curry . . .
1973 Chief Jay Strongbow . . .
1974 Billy Robinson . . .
1975 Mil Máscaras . . .
1976 Wahoo McDaniel Chief Jay Strongbow Mr. Wrestling II Ivan Putski
1977 André the Giant Dusty Rhodes Bob Backlund Mil Máscaras
1978 Dusty Rhodes André the Giant Ricky Steamboat Bob Backlund
1979 Dusty Rhodes André the Giant Ivan Putski Mr. Wrestling II
1980 Mr. Wrestling II Dusty Rhodes André the Giant Bruno Sammartino
1981 Tommy Rich Bob Backlund André the Giant Dusty Rhodes
1982 André the Giant Tommy Rich Hulk Hogan Dusty Rhodes
1983 Jimmy Snuka Dusty Rhodes David Von Erich The Junkyard Dog
1984 Kerry Von Erich Hulk Hogan Dusty Rhodes Sgt. Slaughter
1985 Hulk Hogan Magnum T.A. Kerry Von Erich Tito Santana
1986 Roddy Piper Hulk Hogan Ricky Morton Nikita Koloff
1987 Dusty Rhodes Hulk Hogan Randy Savage Nikita Koloff
1988 Randy Savage Hulk Hogan Sting Lex Luger
1989 Hulk Hogan Ric Flair Sting The Ultimate Warrior
1990 Hulk Hogan Sting The Ultimate Warrior Lex Luger
1991 Sting Hulk Hogan Sid Justice The Steiner Brothers

(Rick and Scott Steiner)

1992 Sting The Ultimate Warrior The Undertaker Ron Simmons
1993 Lex Luger Sting Bret Hart Dustin Rhodes
1994 Sting Bret Hart The Undertaker Hulk Hogan
1995 Shawn Michaels Sting The Undertaker Hulk Hogan
1996 Shawn Michaels Randy Savage Sycho Sid The Undertaker
1997 Sting Steve Austin Ric Flair Diamond Dallas Page
1998 Steve Austin Goldberg The Rock Diamond Dallas Page
1999 The Rock Steve Austin Goldberg Mankind
2000 The Rock Rob Van Dam Chris Jericho Goldberg
2001 Rob Van Dam The Rock Chris Jericho Kurt Angle
2002 Rob Van Dam Hulk Hogan Booker T The Rock
2003 Kurt Angle Steve Austin Rob Van Dam Rey Mysterio
2004 John Cena Chris Benoit Shawn Michaels Eugene
2005 John Cena Batista A.J. Styles Rey Mysterio
2006 Samoa Joe John Cena Rey Mysterio Sting
2007 John Cena The Undertaker Sting CM Punk
2008 Jeff Hardy Shawn Michaels Samoa Joe The Undertaker
2009 Jeff Hardy John Cena Sting The Undertaker
2010 Randy Orton John Cena Rob Van Dam Daniel Bryan
2011 CM Punk John Cena Sting Randy Orton
2012 John Cena Sheamus Randy Orton Jeff Hardy
2011 Daniel Bryan John Cena CM Punk Dolph Ziggler
2012 John Cena Sheamus Randy Orton Jeff Hardy
2013 Daniel Bryan John Cena CM Punk Dolph Ziggler
2014 Dean Ambrose Daniel Bryan John Cena The Usos
2015 Dean Ambrose Brock Lesnar Finn Bálor Shinsuke Nakamura
2016 Shinsuke Nakamura Dean Ambrose Bayley Enzo and Cass
2017 A.J. Styles Shinsuke Nakamura Braun Strowman Kazuchika Okada
2018 A.J. Styles Seth Rollins Becky Lynch Ronda Rousey

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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