Wheeler Yuta’s 2022 campaign showed that he’s continually improving as a prospect to watch on the AEW roster.
Several wrestlers stood out throughout 2022. Seth Rollins won the Men’s Wrestler of the Year, while Bianca Belair did the same for the women. Others like Jon Moxley, Will Ospreay, Syuri, and Jamie Hayter received votes for their performances. But there’s a special place for the individuals that improved as the year went on. The votes have been counted and Wheeler Yuta is recognized as the 2022 Daily DDT Most Improved Wrestler.
2022 was a breakout year for Yuta. The year prior he was a hot prospect, appearing in multiple organizations, some of the biggest on the independent scene. There were even rumors that WWE was very interested in signing him, but that did not come to fruition. In the eyes of many, joining AEW was the right decision for Yuta’s career growth and 2022 is proof of such.
When talking about his 2022 campaign, the conversation must start with Wheeler Yuta’s two reigns as Ring of Honor Pure Champion. He and Daniel Garcia kept an intense feud that saw both men carrying the gold. But it was Yuta that ended the year with the championship after defeating Garcia at Ring of Honor Final Battle in December.
While many complained that the feud between the Blackpool Combat Club and the Jericho Appreciation Society went on for too long, that was the central feud for Yuta’s run last year. It not only contained the back-and-forth with Garcia but multiple matches in other iterations. Each time, Yuta was given his moments to shine and he did so. The fans quickly took to him as an underdog favorite. His match against Jon Moxley on April 6 was one of the best matches of his 2022 and a glimpse at what could happen in the future with Yuta as a central babyface for the company.
Even beyond AEW, Yuta had a strong run in other companies. He graced New Japan during the Best of the Super Juniors tournament, ROH, DEFY, PWG, and other companies along the way. Yuta got invaluable reps that will help him in his development as a performer.
Wheeler Yuta is only 26 years old and has shown the skills of someone that AEW can build around for the future. Does he have places where he needs to improve? Yes, but it is worth highlighting him for his 2022 performance as the Most Improved Wrestler of the Year.